St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz has a warning for people in his parish and throughout Acadiana, don't fall for something that sounds too good to be true.

Scams are happening to everyone, everywhere you turn in Acadiana, and you just have to know about them to prevent these things from happening to you. The scams look very convincing. There are several scenarios that the Sheriff wants you to be aware of right now.

Picture courtesy of Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office

A popular scam that thieves are using is for you to pay them for something using a gift card. How many of us buy things online from Facebook MarketPlace or another type of vendor? I do it, and I know multiple people who do. It's a legitimate business, but what we need to watch out for is the people pretending to be legitimate, but really they are just looking to steal from you.

So, how do some of these scams work? You might find an item you really want at a fantastically discounted price, and you know you need to get it before anyone else does. The fake seller (scammer) will even pretend to use legitimate businesses to pay like Amazon. They may even ask for iTunes cards or a MoneyGram. The point is, if the deal seems too good to be true, then it likely is.

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If the price is super cheap, they are trying to sell you on it quickly, saying they have to move, or they were transferred because of their military service, then be wary. These are exact examples of how people in this area have lost their money, and they sure didn't get the truck, camper, or other expensive items they thought they were buying.

The scammers may even use email messages that include logos from well-known companies to try to convince you that their purchase is legitimate. It's hard to tell, so make sure you know exactly what you are doing before you give your hard-earned money away to some thief. Sheriff Guidroz says you shouldn't have to use your Amazon Gift Card to pay a business other than Amazon, and you surely shouldn't have to use it to pay a private individual. If you are buying something via Amazon, make sure you are on the legitimate Amazon.com site.

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Chris Babin, Chief Operating Officer with the Better Business Burea is a frequent guest on our morning show to talk about the many scams that are constantly operating in Acadiana. Here are some things that should raise some warning signs for you when you are making a purchase that it might not be a legitimate situation:

  • Don't do business with anyone who is offering something of value that is severely discounted as that could be a warning that something could be wrong with the product or the transaction.
  • Don't do business with someone who is too pushy or tries to tell you that they have to make the transaction quickly because of some life event.
  • If the person or transaction makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, trust your instincts and don't complete the purpose.
  • You can always check the status of a business or make a complaint at http://www.bbb.org.
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Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says you should not do business with people who want you to use ITunes cards, Amazon Gift Cards, other gift cards, green dot cards, or money grams.

If you have been the victim of one of these scams, you are asked to call your local police department or sheriff's department. While you may be out your money, your information can help prevent another person from being scammed.

With so many wonderful, legitimate businesses in Acadiana, you can shop local with trust.

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