ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – Scammers are getting more creative and could target a public service agency in your area trying to get money from you.

Recently, the Franklin Township Fire Department in Ellwood City posted to its Facebook page warning people about a text message that is going around selling t-shirts for the department.

Fire officials say they are not selling t-shirts and not to answer or open the text message.

These text messages are becoming more common and could appear as though they are coming from well-known entities like Amazon and other businesses and organizations.

The Federal Trade Commission warns people to not open or answer text messages unless they are absolutely sure of the sender.

If you think the message might be real, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real. Not the information in the text message.

According to the FTC, scammers send fake text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information – things like your password, account number, or Social Security number. If they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers.

The scammers use a variety of ever-changing stories to try to rope you in. They may

  • promise free prizes, gift cards or coupons
  • offer you a low or no interest credit card
  • promise to help you pay off your student loans

Scammers also send fake messages that say they have some information about your account or a transaction. The scammers may

Other messages may install harmful malware on your phone that steals your personal information without you realizing it.

More tips and how to avoid scam text messages can be found on the FTC’s website.

If you get an unwanted text message, there are three ways to report it: