When it comes to phone calls and online interactions, be VERY SKEPTICAL.

That's a message that the Lufkin Police Department wants to pass along to all East Texans. Many scammers are using high-tech ways to manipulate a trusting public to give up their hard-earned money.

According to a media release from the LPD, a woman recently reported being scammed out of $5,000 by a caller who claimed she had a warrant for failing to attend jury duty.

The victim said the scammer called her from a 936 area code, and a man informed her of the warrant. He said she needed to pay $3,600 in Bitcoin for the warrant plus a $1,400 “first-time offender” fee.

The woman said she was beginning to think it was a scam, but then the caller revealed some of her personal information. She sent the caller $5,000 in Bitcoin but later contacted her bank to dispute the transaction after realizing it was a scam.

Lufkin Police want the public to know that law enforcement will NEVER contact you in this manner and request payment via Bitcoin, gift cards, etc. If someone contacts you like this, hang up and call the entity they are impersonating via a verified number – not one provided by the caller.

Many scammers will also try to lure you to interact through the comments section of verified Facebook posts. Just clicking a link can open your computer to spyware and malware.

Even if you're 95% sure that the correspondence is from a verified and trustworthy source, do not follow through on any actions until you are 100% certain.

Please share this information with friends and family members to help prevent anyone else from being scammed.

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