BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA) — A scam is making its way across Louisiana and it’s using the names of local organizations to trick victims into providing personal information.
Earlier today the Pointe Coupee school system notified our sister station, WVLA-TV, the scammers were claiming to be from the school board. This evening, one of our own reporters received the same E-mail, but it claimed to be a gift certificate from WVLA. Yesterday the ABC affiliate station in Baton Rouge, WBRZ-TV, reported on its website that it had been implicated in the same scam.
The E-mail is addressed to the recipient by name and claims to be from a legitimate local organization. In the case of the email claiming to be from our station, the letter reads, “On behalf of NBC33, you have been issued a $1,000.00 Visa Gift Card free of charge.”
The E-mail continues to provide the recipients name, location of the issuing branch, and a date that the gift card offer is valid through. It then goes on to say, “Please use the following website to claim your card and have it shipped to the address of your choosing.”
A website address is then provided.
“The objective of this scam is to obtain your identity,” Sheriff Bud Torez, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office, told WVLA-TV when discussing the same scam earlier today. “Once they have your identity, it will then be sold and that’s how these thieves operate.”
Sheriff Torez noted that these scams are often difficult to end because they’re often perpetrated out of the country.
“We collect the information and provide it to the FBI,” he said. “Their challenge is that these criminals are in foreign countries. We have no legal recourse because they’re outside of the jurisdiction of our government.” E-mail scams such as this one are not new. However, it is becoming more common for the con artists to utilize local businesses to try and garner attention from potential victims.
“A few months back they were doing this same scam but claimed to be from Wal-Mart,” Sheriff Torez, noted. “If you get something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The best thing you can do is to ignore the email.”
If you feel you are the victim of this scam, contact the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.