Money Watchers: 'Spoofing' scam

Someone is calling around demanding thousands of dollars, and they're calling from a number that appears to be from the Rhode Island Division of Sheriffs.

What are they demanding money for?

"To pay for them not to be arrested, that they were wanted by the federal government and they would have to pay that amount of money in order for us not to arrest them," Chief Sheriff David DeCesare said.

This scam has a name. It's called "spoofing."

"They're able to take phone numbers and use that phone number to show up on the call so it gives the impression to the person on the other end of the phone call that it was at this particular time the sheriff's department calling," DeCesare said.

To spoof someone is not illegal. But state Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said it should be.

"I believe it should be because it's being used for deceptive purposes. But we need to craft that language and get it into the General Assembly and explain why this is becoming a problem not just in Rhode Island but nationwide," Kilmartin said.

What is illegal in this practice, however, is to commit an act of fraud, to get money out of someone based upon a lie.

Here's what to look for: The numbers popping up in this scam include 401-822-6963 and 401-275-2900.

No one has given up any money yet, but police are looking for your help to notify them if you get one of these calls.

"These are scams. It is a hoax phone call, and we're strongly advising people not to pay the demand that is being asked of them over the phone," DeCesare said.

Police don't know where the calls are coming from, whether they are from in state, out of state or out of the country.

The caller has been a man.