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MARY MEAUX — Scammer selling fake Wheelhouse cancer treatment fundraiser cards

Here we are in December, people are putting up their Christmas trees and decorating for the holidays if they haven’t already done so.

And nothing says holidays like … scams.

When our hearts are big and we are looking to do good for our fellow man, along comes someone ready to take advantage of you.

Earlier this week, the Neches River Wheelhouse received calls from customers saying they were approached by a man selling raffle tickets in the parking lot of H-E-B on FM 365.

The man told the Wheelhouse customer he was selling raffle tickets to benefit an employee at the restaurant who has cancer. The fake ticket reported to allow the purchaser a free meal at the Wheelhouse.

Lance Bradley, one of the owners of the Wheelhouse, said the caller knew the deal didn’t sound legit, and it wasn’t, and police were notified.

The scam happened again on Tuesday, this time in the parking lot of a shopping center in Orange. And once again a Wheelhouse customer called in to the restaurant saying it sounded bogus.

Bradley said the restaurant is grateful to those who alerted him of the scam. He said they weren’t going to put news of the scam out on social media until the same thing happened the next day. Now they want the public to be aware.

While this is the latest scam, it’s not the only one going on locally.

Port Arthur Police noted authorities usually see a rise in phone and online scams during this time of the year and offered some tips, such as looking for the “S” in HTTPS in the web address.

This indicates they are encrypted.

Also look for a privacy policy or trust seal identified by the words “Secure” or “Verified.” Lastly, look for contact information.

“To be safe, if you are unsure of the security of any site, do not purchase from that site or share any personal information including home address, credit card or banking information,” PAPD stated.

For more information go to staysafeonline.org

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office also took to social media recently to warn the community of a male calling citizens claiming to be a deputy.

He falsely tells the citizen about warrants and tries to give instructions on how to make the warrants go away with a simple payment.

“The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will not call you to tell you that you have warrants and then attempt to make payment arrangements over the phone,” the Sheriff’s Office stated. “No law enforcement agency will call you and attempt to solicit any type of funds.”

If you do receive calls, texts or emails soliciting funds, you should contact that business and do a thorough follow-up.

If you have been a victim of this crime, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Stay safe this holiday season.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com.

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