Do you remember the movie Any Which Way You Can? It starred Clint Eastwood and an orangutang, so if you saw it, I promise you'd remember it. In that movie, there's a song called the Good Guys and the Bad Guys and that's basically what this story is about.

In this case, the Good Guys are the members of the Scott Fire Department. The bad guys are the low lives that are using the department's good name to scam you out of your hard-earned money.

The ne'er do wells method of operation involves your smartphone. That smartphone's texting feature. And it also relies on your gullibility too. Here's what's happening. Have you gotten a text on your phone that looks like this?

That could seem legit if you live in Scott and your name is Steven and you've expressed an interest in purchasing a Scott Fire Department shirt. Since just about none of us hit any of those three qualifications a text such as this one on your smartphone should have sent up a bunch of red flags.

The T-shirt Text Scam is one that is unfortunately been going around the country as of late. Many police and fire departments in other cities around the nation have reported this kind of scammer activity and now the scam has come home to Scott.

Scott Fire Chief Chad Sonnier told KATC television, that his department is not selling t-shirts and they are certainly not advertising them for sale via text messaging. The Chief told the TV station this,

We would like to inform everyone that the following text has NO association with the Scott Fire Department and is a scam, please ignore, block and delete

The T-Shirt Text Scam follows a formula that many scammers use to get your money. They pretend to be from an organization or group you've heard of. It's usually a group you trust like the police or fire department.

They then offer a prize or suggest a problem that needs your attention. Maybe it's a virus on your computer or a compromised bill or they might even suggest you've won money. 

Should you act on the message you receive, other than deleting it, you'll likely find yourself being pressured into doing something you don't want to do. Maybe the scammer will want you to go purchase a gift card to make a purchase or a donation or secure your security.  Scammers love gift cards. They are not easy to trace and once the bad guys have your money, it's gone.

WAVY TV 10 via YouTube
WAVY TV 10 via YouTube

These kinds of scam operations reach far and wide. For example, while Chief Sonnier in Scott Louisiana was warning you of a scam here at home the Sheriff of Saratoga County New York was warning his constituents of the exact same scam some 1,500 miles away.

The bottom line is you have to be on your guard at all times against these kinds of practices. If you feel the text you receive is a bit fishy, don't act on it. Instead, pick up the phone and call the organization the text claims to represent. They'll let you know whether those fundraisers, t-shirt sales, or the need for your banking information are legit and above board or not.

And be wary of any text or communication that comes from a number you don't know. In the case of the Scott Fire Department text that call originated in the 219 area code. That's northwest Indiana not known as a hotbed of fundraising by the Scott Fire Department.

And if you legitimately want to help out the Scott Fire Department then sign up for their Inaugural Scott Classic Golf Tournament. You can get all the legit details right here. 

Courtesy Scott Fire Department.
Courtesy Scott Fire Department.

The scammers are out there. Make sure you're smarter than they are. You can always ask them if they understand these memes. That's one sure-fire way to root out the bad guys.

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