SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office is warning county residents that scammers are posing as deputies to take families’ money.

According to the sheriff’s office, at least two victims have reported falling victim to the crime so far this week, losing a total of $5,648.

The scammer told Joe and Karen Brewer his name was Sgt. Justin Smith.

“They called and represented themselves as Spartanburg Sheriff’s Department,” Joe Brewer said, “and that they had three warrants for her arrest.”

The couple told 7NEWS they were skeptical but the scam was convincing.

The man claiming to be Sgt. Smith knew personal information about Karen Brewer that she believed only real law enforcement would know. The scammers even used a realistic answering machine on the numbers they gave their victims to call them back on.

“That’s something that people need to be very, very cautious of,” Brewer said. “Just because they know all about you, do not accept that as they’re legitimate, cos they’re not.”

The Brewers sent the scammers cash: $93 on Venmo and $2,800 via a Bitcoin transaction.

The sheriff’s office public information officer, Lt. Kevin Bobo, said this scam has appeared before and frequently targets the elderly.

“The red flag should be as soon as they ask for money or ask you to do something about money,” Bobo said. “That should scream, ‘This is not legitimate.’ If nothing else, hang up on ‘em.”

Bobo said once scammers successfully take money, it’s very difficult to recover the lost cash. Scammers frequently use Bitcoin because it is hard to trace.

Bobo said the real sheriff’s office will never ask for money. He encouraged anyone who believes he or she is a scam victim to report it.

You can report scams by visiting the sheriff’s office in person at 8045 Howard Street in Spartanburg or by calling the sheriff’s office at 864-503-4500.