SALEM -- A scammer impersonating a Marion County deputy has been calling residents and telling them they owe money for various legal issues, the sheriff's office warned.

The suspect, who calls himself Deputy Jones, then asks each victim to put money on a prepaid Visa card to pay off the debt, according to Sgt. Chris Baldridge of the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

One victim told KGW the caller doesn't sound at all like a deputy.

I began to get suspicious when he began to seem a bit disoriented and disorganized, said Stan McClain. He referred to me as 'Mrs. McClain' at one point and he apologized for calling me in the middle of the night, and it was the middle of the afternoon.

Baldridge said sheriff's deputies would never ask residents to put money on prepaid Visa cards. At least 10 cases have been reported in Marion County so far, he said.

As a consumer, always verify the legitimacy of a company before handing over your personal information, he said.

Click here for tips on how to avoid being scammed

If you live in Marion County and have received one of these calls, call the sheriff's office at 503-588-5032.

Baldridge said investigators are working to find the suspect. But calls like this usually come from outside the U.S., which limits the chance of successful prosecution.

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