BOISE -- Scammers targeting people in the Treasure Valley have found a new tactic: Posing as local emergency responders seeking "donations."

Officials say the criminals are trying to take advantage of their victims' Christmastime charitable giving.

The phone scammers have pretended to be affiliated with both Boise Fire and Ada County Paramedics, telling whoever picks up the phone that they are collecting money for the organizations.

Boise Fire said one such caller used a 208 area code, but did not know the name of Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan when questioned by the intended victim.

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Ada County Paramedics said the fraudulent calls appear to be part of a nationwide scam effort.

The real agencies do not solicit donations by phone, and no one should give out their financial information, including credit or debit card numbers, over the phone to these callers.

Scam calls typically ramp up around the holiday season. Meridian Police also warned of another scam in which callers identify themselves as members of the United States Marshal Service for the State of Idaho, and ask victims to pay fake "fines" or risk arrest.

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Anyone who receives such a call should immediately hang up and contact their local police department, Meridian Police said.