TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - While many people are looking to government departments for help during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials in East Texas want to ensure those people are not taken advantage of or mislead.
“It’s disappointing to see at a time where everybody is trying to work together and hunker down that people are trying to take advantage of a bad situation and make it worse,” said David Chenault, the public information officer for the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management.
The Rusk County OEM and the sheriff’s office are warning people about emails and texts that could be dangerous.
“We’re starting to see people be hit with scamming ploys and phishing ploys through email and text messaging,” said Chenault. “Where they receive a text saying a thousand dollars is available to you for disaster relief, simply reply to this text message.”
The Kilgore Police Department is warning people about an email regarding positive results for COVID-19.
The Better Business Bureau for Central East Texas has a page on their website dedicated to coronavirus scams and warnings.
“We’re seeing people that are pretending to be government officials people from the CDC, from FEMA, from trusted resources,” said Mechele Mills, the president of the Better Business Bureau for Central East Texas. “Those can have anything to do with masks at a discount, or they have an online mandatory test for COVID-19 that you have to take and before you take it you have to fill in online information. Scam about stimulus checks; you need to click on this link and give us your information and if you don’t you won’t get your stimulus check.”
Officials are urging people to not put personal information in sites or to click on texts or emails they are unsure of. Reputable sites from the government end in “.gov”.