This is another one you’ve heard before from us; the message just won’t sink in.

Gadsden and Attalla police have been getting multiple reports of phone and email scams in recent weeks. Most have involved Social Security benefits — a subject that makes folks who receive them sit up and pay attention, especially if it’s a big chunk of their income.

Callers — some purport to be law enforcement officers or even FBI agents — claim the recipient owes money to the government and is going to be put in jail unless he or she pays up, using either gift cards or wire transfers.

More ominously, callers have even requested a mark’s (that’s carny logo for the scam’s victim) Social Security number or bank account information.

Another older scam has returned, in which callers claim a mark’s relative has been arrested and that bail money is needed — again through wire and gift cards — or the poor soul will stay in the pokey. (The downside of the interconnected online world is that no one’s personal information — such as relatives’ names — is truly private if someone is willing to dig hard enough.)

OK, take a deep breath, engage your brain and take what we’re about to say as gospel — it ain’t fake news.

The Social Security Administration — the main office is at 6401 Security Blvd. in Woodlawn, Maryland; the local office is at 204 Enterprise Road near Cracker Barrel — is not going to call you, out of the blue, demanding money. Not ever. Not under any circumstances in this or any known solar system. (Official governmental communications still come by snail mail.)

If you get such a call, hang up and notify the cops. (If you want to add some editorial comments before hanging up, profane or otherwise, that’s your decision.)

If you have a relative in jail, he or she will get the traditional “one phone call” and will probably make a personal plea if bail money is needed. The jailers aren’t going to make that call. Not ever. Again, hang up and notify the real cops if you receive such a request.

No governmental entity, law enforcement or otherwise, is going to ask you to send payment in gift cards or by wire transfer. Not ever. If you get such a request — is this sinking in? — hang up and call the cops.

You are shaking a full bottle of nitroglycerine while standing on a balance board poised on multiple yards of banana peels if you give your Social Security or bank account numbers to anyone you know who calls you out of the blue. One more time, if someone you don’t absolutely, for sure know makes that request, hang up and call the cops. (We’d advise being careful and leery even with folks you know.)

Too many trusting people immediately and automatically assume things are as they seem when answering the phone. Make this your motto when the ringer sounds: Think, don’t react.

The stakes are too high; one woman in Attalla lost about $40,000 that she’ll never see again.

Criminals who hide behind computer screens are just as vicious as robbers who point guns in people’s faces. They just choose to do their damage with stealth and deception rather than brutality.

For the umpteenth time, don’t make it easy for them.