DENVER (KDVR) — Scam operations continue to increase as authorities investigate a wider range of schemes. Now those running the common overpayment scam are posing as celebrities to trick fans into handing over cash.

Amanda McCabe told FOX31 that her 30-year-old special needs daughter is being targeted by a man who calls and says he is the popular singer Chris Brown. The man is an impostor; the real singer is not associated with any scam.

McCabe said the scammer first gains trust by charming the target.

“She wants a boyfriend. They can sweet talk her,” McCabe said.

The impostor sends real photos of the celebrity to deceive the person he is manipulating. Eventually, the scammer asked McCabe’s daughter to accept a check from him for $3,200, then use it to purchase Walmart cash cards so she could send him most of the money but keep $200.

McCabe fears the impostor may gain more influence over her daughter and has reported the attempts to authorities.

“They’re horrible, evil people,” McCabe said.

How to protect yourself from impostor scams

The scam is being monitored by law enforcement and remains on the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

“It takes on a few different variations: You’ve won some sort of sweepstakes or a prize or you’ve applied for a job and they want to pay you, and you just have to send some fees,” BBB spokesperson Rebecca Barr said.

Scammers have highly organized operations that research just who could be a good target. Here are ways to avoid getting scammed:

  • Never give your personal information to a stranger.
  • Ignore unknown calls; let them go to voicemail so you can check them out later then delete them.
  • To report scams and fraud and learn more about how to protect our family visit the Colorado Attorney General’s website.