BRIDGEPORT - Callers pretending to represent the Bridgeport Police Department are threatening and scamming residents, according to authorities.

Bridgeport Police Chief A.J. Perez met with detectives to discuss a scam in which the caller threatens to send a Bridgeport officer to the victim's home to collect a phony debt. Detective Frank Podpolucha says the scammers' bogus reason for demanding money varies. Some instances have referred to an overdue IRS debt and others involved a family member needing immediate payment for hospital care after a crash.

"We would never, ever call someone and ask for money, donations or anything like that," says Podpolucha. "We're never going to call you."

Barbara Lyon, of Fairfield, says she recently received a telephone call informing her that her daughter was about to be arrested for having missed jury duty. The caller said that a Bridgeport police officer would go to her daughter's house and arrest her unless Lyon paid several hundred dollars.

"Said his name was Lt. William Thomas and he gave me a phone number and an extension number," says Lyon. There is no Lt. William Thomas, however. 

Authorities say most of these calls come from overseas, which means the scammers are usually outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement. However, they're asking anyone who receives a scam call to report it to the Bridgeport Police Department.