(WGHP) — A deal on a law enforcement T-shirt turned out to be a scam.
Nearly every day, local law enforcement agencies have warned people about things like this in their community.
“It is a major scam going on across the state right now,” said David Hess, chief of Roxboro police and former president of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police. “They’re difficult if not impossible to try and prosecute.”
It starts with a personalized text message from a random number and claims to be from a local law enforcement agency. It offers a $10 dollar deal off a generic T-shirt with the agency’s badge in the center.
When the person clicks the link, their personal and banking information is exposed.
“These T-shirts are generic in nature,” he said. “They’re obviously not something professional that a police department would be using.”
Hess told FOX8 family members of officers got tricked into thinking the T-shirts were legitimate.
“It’s difficult when it hits close to home,” Hess said. “I think about people that live on fixed incomes and single mothers who want to support their local police department, and they think they’re doing a good deed only to be taken advantage of by a scammer.”
He said con artists are using people’s trust in the police to steal their money.
“Anytime someone can take advantage of those bridges of trust and legitimacy and empathy to break down those relationships we’ve worked so hard on, they’re really part of the problem,” he said.
Elon Police Officer Hannah Giroux first heard about the scam when people in the community sent the department screenshots of the text.
“Scammers are trying to do anything and everything to get into your wallet and lives,” Giroux said. “I can’t say that I’m surprised. Everybody is glued to their phones in today’s day and age.”
While police don’t know who’s behind the scam, it’s a good reminder to never click on something you are not familiar with at any time.
“These phone numbers are either spoofed off a computer program or it is legal for third parties to sell your information…sometimes, that’s where people can get your cell phone number from,” Hess said.
Hess told FOX8 police will never text, call or e-mail anyone to buy something. If you get one of these messages, delete it and block the number.
Some of the law enforcement agencies in the Piedmont Triad that have warned people about the scam include the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, the Elon Police Department, the Burlington Police Department and the Archdale Police Department.