HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Hattiesburg police are offering neighbors tips to avoid phone scams.

First, officers remind neighbors that the Hattiesburg Police Department (HPD) will not contact anyone by phone to collect money for an unpaid fine. Investigators said a scammer has been asking neighbors for payment via a Green-Dot card. They said scammers are also spoofing local numbers and posing as law enforcement.

Officers said the following are common signs of a phone scam:

  • The caller seems to be genuine because they have limited information about you
  • The caller may give you a real name and phone number in an attempt to convince you they’re genuine
  • The caller ID number appears to be the real phone number of the department or agency the caller claims to be calling from
  • They may say that there is a serious problem, and that you need to pay a fine or be arrested; or a loved one is in trouble
  • Most commonly, payment is demanded to be made using Western Union, Green Dot or by purchasing generic gift cards at retail stores

Police offered the following tips:

  • Hang up if you receive a suspicious call that you believe is a scam
  • Don’t give the caller any information or confirm the information they may give to you
  • Don’t make any type of payment over the phone.
  • Report the call to your local law enforcement agency

Scams can be reported to the Hattiesburg Police Department at (601)-544-7900.