NEW KENT, Va. (WRIC) — The New Kent Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about an Amazon scam that is circulating in the community.

According to the New Kent Sheriff’s Office, citizens are being contacted by scammers pretending to be representatives from Amazon. The Sheriff’s office said fake Amazon representatives are calling members of the community and telling them that a purchase was made on their account. The alleged representative tells the victim that money has been deposited in their personal bank account by mistake.

The fake Amazon representative then tells the caller to purchase gift cards from various locations to cancel out the accidental deposit. According to the New Kent Sheriff’s Office, this is a scam and the deposit into your account is a fraudulent electronic transfer.

“The ploy is that once the amount has been paid back for the incorrect deposit the citizen is not in violation of the law,” the New Kent Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The victim is told to call the alleged representative back after they buy the gift cards and read the cards’ numbers to them. The office said during the call, citizens are threatened with arrest, a freeze on their state and federal taxes and/or benefits if they don’t comply– all of which are false.

Leslie Blackwell, the Director of Public Affairs for the Better Business Bureau serving Central Virginia, told 8News there are two major red flags when it comes to this specific scam. The first warning is that the alleged Amazon representative is requesting money to be paid back through gift cards.

“Anybody that ever wants you to pay with a gift card –run,” Blackwell said.

The second major red flag is that the alleged Amazon representative tells the caller that they could be arrested or have their federal taxes or benefits frozen if they don’t comply.

“The fraudster was nasty and was threatening saying that the person is going to be arrested. Well that’s a typical tactic of the fraudster to make you make a hasty choice,” Blackwell said.

The sheriff’s office said the citizen is not only losing the money spent on the gift cards, but they also become liable to the bank for the fraudulent check.

Blackwell said the BBB is seeing a tremendous amount of online purchasing scams this holiday season. ‘Imposter scams’ are common as people are pretending to be representatives from Amazon, Apple, Google and other companies. According to a cybersecurity firm Checkpoint, there are nearly 180 percent more malicious shopping websites this holiday season than earlier this year.

“So many people are shopping online and as a result that’s where the scammers are going to be hanging out, trying to get your personal information and your money,” Blackwell said.

To avoid being a victim of a scam, Blackwell suggests putting alerts on your bank accounts and don’t answer any unsolicited emails, texts or phone calls. If you’ve been a victim of a scam, Blackwell recommends reporting the scam online through their scam tracker. You should also contact customer service with the business, file a complaint and the business will investigate.

If you think you’ve been scammed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said you should immediately dispute the charges to your bank and report it to law enforcement.