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BURNET —  Business owners should beware of a phone scam in which the caller tries to siphon critical personal information from a victim that could lead to theft of money or services and even potential identity theft, officials said.

The Burnet Chamber of Commerce sent an alert informing members of a phone call claiming to be “updating member profile information for the chamber of commerce.”

“(The caller) asked some general contact questions and proceeded to ask for a Social Security number,” according to the chamber alert. “This was not the Burnet Chamber of Commerce. … Do not give them any information.”

Investigators said such calls often come from a “masked” phone number, which typically does not allow for a return phone call.

The scams have become so prevalent that area law enforcement periodically sends out alerts and even offers prevention methods to help residents avoid becoming victims.

An upcoming seminar April 26 will feature Burnet County Sheriff’s Office administrators addressing such incidents and arming attendees against the tricks of the fraud trade with an emphasis on phone calls and emails.

In the Burnet business phone scam, officials noted the caller used the same tactic as a similar scam a year ago. Fortunately, in both cases, members refused to go along and reported the incident.

“Please let us know if you ever have a question regarding the legitimacy of anyone claiming to be working for us or producing marketing material to be used in the chamber,” Burnet Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kim Winkler said in a statement. “Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence for questionable companies to make that claim.

“We will always notify members via email prior to you being contacted regarding official membership advertising or sponsorship opportunities.”