Local scam is a common practice to steal money

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

During the past few weeks, parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church have been receiving alleged text message requests from Father Juan Carlos, asking for Apple gift cards to be delivered to him.

There is, however, a problem with these requests: The real Father Juan Carlos is not asking anyone for Apple gift cards. The person behind these texts is an impersonator.

Fraudulent phone requests from scammers is a common practice these days, taking advantage of people’s good faith by posing as a trusted contact, such as a church, a law enforcement agency, or the IRS. The results have caused people to lose large amounts of money, sometimes their life savings, and phone scams are one of the easiest ways to cheat people. In most cases, senior citizens are often targeted.

It’s important to understand how trusted agencies work. Church officials don’t text members asking for gift cards to help with an emergency. The Social Security Administration and IRS send written communications by mail, and aren’t going to call for a person’s social security number. Law enforcement agencies aren’t going to threaten to arrest, deport, or fine residents if money is not sent to them.

Most importantly, if anyone who claims to represent any professional agency asks for a money transfer, wiring currency from a bank account, or loading funds to a gift card, cash reload card, or a prepaid card, assume it’s a scam and end the call. For those who receive a text, do not respond to these messages. It lets the scammer know the phone number is active and has the potential to defraud the user.

If still not sure about whether a call is legitimate or not, “Google” the phone number. You can also add the words “Scam” or “Fraud” after the number to see if other people have had similar complaints.

If you or someone you know has already been scammed, contact your local police department. Take detailed notes of time and date of calls or texts, and keep all receipts and related documentation.

Unfortunately, fraudulent calls and texts are common in all areas, and are actively present in Navarro County. Residents can reduce the amount of telemarketing calls received by signing up to the National Do Not Call Registry.

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