PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) – Local police departments are warning people about a potential scam — probably because it has their name written all over it.
The scam comes in the form of a text — likely personalized with the name of the person receiving it. It then goes on to share a link with the promise of discounted t-shirts bearing the name of a local police department. Police departments for Hampton, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Edenton, Ahoskie, Elizabeth City, Norfolk and more are among those issuing the warnings.
Examples of the texts shared by police on their social media pages read something like, “$10 off Police t-shirt, order now” with a link. Depending on where you live, the name of the police department is also included in the message.
“If you receive a text message advertising the sale of t-shirts or other merchandise, they are NOT being sold by HPD. Be aware of scammers like this and steer clear,” the warning on the Hampton Police Department Facebook page says.
Similar warnings are popping up on the social media pages of police departments in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Ahoskie and more. But the scam isn’t just limited to Hampton Roads.
“I believe this is a nationwide scam,” said Sgt. William D. Pickering Jr. with Norfolk Police.
We asked several local departments if they would be investigating the scam further.
“We are not investigating this fraud as we have not receiving any shirt sale fraud complaints from Elizabeth City residents,” said Derrell Felton, Administrative Captain with the Elizabeth City Police Department.
When it comes to keeping your phone and bank account safe, experts say your best bet is to educate yourself on the scams and be aware of what’s safe and what’s not.
“When you get that first text usually your device is still safe. When you click the link and start entering information, that’s when you become compromised,” he said.
“The guys who are scammers, they are smart, they know who to key in on,” Craig said.