PORTLAND, Ore. – Police said they have received an uptick in reports regarding phone scams and want to warn people about the scare tactic.

Portland police said the scam typically involves a caller attempting to cause alarm to the person they are calling. Other law enforcement agencies have also dealt with a recent increase, police said.

The caller reportedly says they may harm an acquaintance of the person they are calling if the person doesn’t provide a large sum of money in the form of a cashier’s check, money order or traveler’s check. The caller then tells the person not to call police.

Police encourages the community to share this warning to prevent people from falling for this scam. They also want to remind community members of the following tips:

  • Don't send money. Never wire money out of the country to persons unknown. This includes buying reloadable Visa cards or gift cards.
  • Be skeptical. Ask questions that only family members would know - like pet names or favorite foods - without revealing too much personal information.
  • Verify information. Check with family members to confirm the locations of children or grandchildren.
  • Stay private. Regularly update privacy settings for social media sites. Scammers often make their stories more believable by trolling for personal information on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites.
  • Contact the police if you receive a call that causes you concern for someone's safety and are told the only remedy is to send money and not contact the police.
  • Know where to turn. Victims suffering a financial loss should report incidents to local law enforcement agencies and the Oregon Attorney General's Office, Department of Justice.

For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Scam Alert website.