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Scams on the rise with storm season underway

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Lubbock police warn of COVID-19 related scam

LUBBOCK, Texas (KJTV) - As severe weather makes its way through the South Plains, scammers are finding more victims.

Investigators with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s say they’re seeing more people pretend to be contractors, asking for money up front to fix your roof or provide lawn service.

Sergeant Brandon Pierpoint says to research the company and never pay someone before doing the job.

“If it smells like a skunk and it looks like a skunk, it’s probably a skunk,” Pierpoint said.

You can also call the Better Business Bureau at 806-763-0459 to make sure the company is real.

Another con, people are identifying themselves as law enforcement on the phone and demanding money to pay off warrants.

“Like they’re getting the prepaid Visa cards and they’re having them read numbers off. We’ve seen people lose a hundred dollars, we’ve seen people several hundred thousand dollars,” Pierpoint said.

Sergeant Pierpoint says a government agency will never request you to send money via wire, money orders or prepaid gift cards.

You can call the Sheriff’s Office at 806-775-1601 to check the individual’s identity, if in doubt.

Investigators are seeing many spoofing scams, where callers falsify their caller ID to disguise their identity.

“If you don’t know who’s calling, don’t answer it. If you don’t know the number, don’t answer it. If it’s important they’ll leave a message,” Pierpoint said.

Sergeant Pierpoint is proof it can happen to anybody.

“Yeah, my captain called me one day, and I was like hello. And it was like ‘your car warranty is,’” Pierpoint said.

Scammers are also getting paid through false unemployment claims.

You can call the Texas Workforce Commission fraud line at 1-800-252-3640 to put a stop to it.

While Pierpoint says the older population is often targeted, everyone is at risk.

“Even some of the younger generation, they’re not certain as far as credit comes about and the banking world and what not. So, they’re both ends of the spectrum but everyone’s getting victimized,” Pierpoint said.

Investigators are handling 15 of these scamming cases and Pierpoint says, unfortunately, that’s a steady count.

He says if any of these scams happen to you, you should always file a police report.

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