I guess we need a registry for Scammers then!

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Virginia State Police said they have been alerted to an alarming increase in phone scams targeting seniors and convicted sex offenders.

Police said scammers are threatening people into paying hundreds of dollars in gift cards.

One popular scam making the rounds across the state is where the caller tells the person, most of the time an elderly person, on the phone that a relative has been arrested and incarcerated so they need money in order to be released from jail.

Police said the scammer can be very convincing by providing extensive personal information about the person they claim is in need of help.

State Police said centers are also getting calls from convicted sex offenders who are being told there is a warrant for their arrest.

The sex offender is told not to call state police and the only way to adjudicate the warrant is by paying off a fine.

Virginia law prohibits unlawful use of the information provided on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry for purposes of intimidating or harassing an individual listed on the registry.

With both incidents, police said the scammer tells the victim how the payment should be submitted, usually through an 'eGift' cash card or similar payment to a specified account or name given by the scammer.

Police said the scammer will often pressure, threaten, and verbally abuse the victim in order to intimidate them into giving money.

Scammers will also manipulate their caller ID, known as 'spoofing,' to make their number appear to come from a nearby state police office, local police, or sheriff's office. Scammers are using prepaid phones and are most of the time not even in the area.

If you receive such a call, hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency or Virginia State Police.

Complaints can also be made to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.