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OMAK – Folks are advised to be on alert for phone callers claiming they are from the Social Security Administration.

Omak Police Chief Jeff Koplin said his office received about two dozen calls last week from people who received phone calls from people purporting to be from the federal agency.

“Callers were intimidated with the threat of arrest,” said Koplin. “A couple callers complied with the caller and gave out personal info and bank account info and even Social Security numbers or partial numbers.”

Three people reported the calls in person at the police station.

“Two people were so upset their hands were shaking and said the hadn’t got any sleep the night before fearing they were going to be arrested,” Koplin said. “One walk-in was new to the area (here just two weeks) she opted to call Social Security (and tried for two hours) but never got passed the answering machine to talk to ‘real’ person.”

Koplin said people should not participate in unauthorized or unwanted calls from someone claiming to be from the Social Security office.

“Callers need to police their cellphones and landlines and block these scam calls,” he said. “Use common sense. Do not listen to scam callers. Just hang up.”

A couple years ago, the department had a similar situation with callers impersonating IRS agents and demanding payments for taxes owed.

Such scammers often know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number, make caller ID appear as if it is the IRS calling, send follow-up bogus emails to support the scam and call a second time claiming to be the police and saying a warrant has been issued, the department said at the time.

Scam calls can be reported to local police agencies on their business lines.

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