LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - Some Lafayette residents are getting phone calls from someone claiming to be from local law enforcement, and it's come to the attention of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office.

According to a statement from the LPSO, citizens are falling victim to a phone scam where the scammer says they are with the department and are seeking some form of payment or fine to be paid over the phone.

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"Please be advised," the LPSO statement said, "the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office does not seek any type of payment over the telephone."

Often, the forms of payment the scammer uses is untraceable, and cannot be transferred back. This leads to the money being lost for good.

"If you are contacted by a caller requesting money and claiming to be law enforcement, do NOT transfer any form of payment to the caller and contact law enforcement immediately," LPSO said.

If you have questions about possible warrants, fines, etc, you are encouraged to call (337) 232-9211 instead of paying for anything over the phone with one of these scammers.

Lafayette On The Lookout For Scams

We've noted recently how scams seem to be on the rise, and various factors in the Lafayette area make it possible for scammers to find victims easily.

In May, a mother and daughter were scammed by a fake QR code on parking meters in downtown Lafayette.

Credit: Downtown Lafayette/Facebook
Credit: Downtown Lafayette/Facebook

According to the women, when one of them parked downtown for an event at Parc Lafayette, they scanned a QR code on the parking meter to pay only to discover the next day they had a charge for almost $800 at Walmart.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips on avoiding scams.

How to avoid QR scams

  • Confirm the QR code before scanning. If you receive a QR code from a friend via text or a message on social media from a workmate, be sure to confirm with that person they meant to send you the code to verify they have not been hacked. Keep in mind what you know about the person messaging you. Are they active in cryptocurrency investments, or is this message a little out of character? How often do you talk to this person, and does it make sense they would come to you with this opportunity? Trust in your intuition and avoid scanning any QR code until you know they sent it on purpose.
  • Do not open links from strangers. If you receive an unsolicited message from a stranger that includes a QR code, BBB strongly recommends against scanning it. If the message promises exciting gifts or investment opportunities under the condition you ‘act now,’ be even more cautious. Scammers use this type of language consistently and rely on their targets to make immediate decisions before verifying its authenticity.
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  • Be wary of short links. Suppose a shortened URL appears when hovering your camera over a QR code. In that case, there is no way of knowing where it will direct you once the link is followed. Ensure you are confident that the QR code is legitimate before following short links, as it may send you to a malicious website. Once on the website, look at the URL and verify the domain and subdomain make sense for the organization that supposedly operates it. Scammers often switch around the domain and subdomains for URLs or slightly misspell one word to make websites appear legitimate.
  • Check for tampering. Some scammers attempt to mislead consumers by altering legitimate business ads or placing stickers on the QR code. Keep an eye out for signs of tampering and, if discovered, have the business check that the posted QR code is genuine. Most businesses permanently install scannable QR codes using laminate or placing it behind glass in their establishments. They will often include the business’s logo in the code, often in the middle.
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For more information

Read BBB's data privacy and cyber security tips to learn more about protecting your information online.

If you’ve been the victim of a QR scam, report it at Information provided may prevent another person from falling victim.

LOOK: The biggest scams today and how you can protect yourself from them

Using data from the BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, Stacker identified the most common and costly types of scams in 2022.