PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMMB) — Panama City Beach police are warning people about someone claiming to be with the department.

The impersonator is calling people asking for their personal ID information.

Millions of Americans receive scam calls every day. The caller usually asks for one of two things, money or personal information.

There’s a scammer calling himself a senior Panama City Beach police officer. The calls appear to come from the beach police department’s phone number.

Law enforcement officials call it spoofing.

Turns out scammers, posing as law enforcement officers, is pretty common.

“The primary reason for the majority of these scams is they want to cheat people out of their money. You know, they want to rip people off. You know, they’ll use all type of different tactics when they’re impersonating a police officer,” said Panama City Beach Police Cheif J.R. Talamantez.

There are tell-tale signs that a caller is trying to scam you.

“One is a person you don’t know, asking for money. That is the biggest red flag right off the bat. If you get a phone call and they tell you that we have a family member that’s in custody and we need bail money. all right. Red flag,” said Talamantez.

Talamantez says law enforcement and judicial officials don’t contact people by phone. He also warns people to be aware because scammers can sound very professional.

“It’s not coincidental that they’re very convincing in how they talk, how they can answer questions. They’re very prepared because, you know if they sit there and they call 100 people and they get four people to fall for it and get them to go pay thousands of dollars,” said Bay County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Captain Jason Daffin.

When purchasing items online or over the phone. Law enforcement officials highly recommend you use a credit card rather than a debit card. That way, it’s far more difficult to trace our financial information online.

If you recognize the number as a scammer immediately report it.
To report a scam call to authorities contact Panama City Beach Police at (850) 233-5000 or Bay County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 747-4700