The Dane County Sheriff’s Office will never call you to ask you to pay a fine, and it won’t ask you to pay it using prepaid money cards.

That’s what DCSO stated in a news release earlier this month, sent out after a Madison woman got a call saying she had missed jury duty and there was a warrant out for her arrest. The woman lost $700 to scammers impersonating a DCSO officer.

In the release, DSCO said this scam has become “very elaborate” and has been “plaguing our area for years.” Virtually untraceable because scammers are using technology that masks their real telephone number with one from the DCSO, the impersonators have been known to use the names of deputies within the department and sound knowledgeable to the average citizen.

The woman realized she was scammed after looking at the card’s conditions, and filed a report with the Madison Police Department.

Any time a caller asks for payment via a prepaid money card, that should be a red flag, the release said, because taxes or fines cannot be paid with money cards.

“Please help us put these impersonators out of business by spreading the word about this scam to everyone you know,” the release states. “The only way to completely stop this from happening is to educate the public on their tactics, so that no one else falls victim to their money making scheme.”