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According to News Center Maine, my fears of answering my phone are founded. When you can't trust a phone call from a cop, it's time to let it all go to voice mail.

The latest scam to hit Mainers is a man who identifies himself as Officer John Smith of the Portland Police Department. Your caller ID will even show that the call is coming from the Portland Police Department. This latest trick used by phone scammers is especially convincing and many people who would otherwise not pick up the phone for a scammer just might be duped by seeing what seems to be a credible and trusted number.

If you receive a call from "Officer John Smith" telling you that you have to turn yourself in due to "criminal activity" the Portland Police Department advises you to hang up right away and don't give out any personal information or any money. That's what the scammer is phishing for. If you get a message on your answering machine, do not call them back.

I get phone calls a few times a year asking me to give to various police and fire stations, they are all scams. Don't let anyone manipulate you or take advantage of your kind heart. When in doubt, hang up and call the real organization to confirm any fundraising they claim to be doing. A quick call back to the Portland Police Dept. to verify what Officer Smith was saying would have saved many people the loss of money and/or their personal information that will likely be sold or used for further scams.

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