MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Authorities are warning local residents of a scam that’s running rampant, targeting your sympathy and fear in order to steal your money.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) says detectives have received numerous reports of scammers posing as a bail bond company claiming your loved one is in jail and that they are attempting to bail them out.

However, they won’t accept cash – only payments through apps like CashApp and Venmo, among others. The scammers might even offer to help walk you through how to load the money onto the apps.

This alone should be a red flag, as the MCSO says all law enforcement agencies require any payments for bail or for inmates to be made in person.

If you get this type of call and are worried it’s a scam, authorities encourage you to ask for the allegedly incarcerated person’s booking identification number and at which facility they are being detained.

Never provide payment over the phone or purchase pre-paid cash cards if you can’t verify the caller.

The MCSO reminds everyone that “No law enforcement, detention personnel, legal service provider, or licensed bail agent will suggest that money be rendered immediately through a purchased card.”