MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. — Law enforcement is warning of a potential human trafficking scam that’s made its way to North Alabama. People receive text messages from an unknown number, which then tries to convince them to meet up in person.
“Scams always lead to taking money, or taking stuff, or taking people,” said Mike Swafford, the public information officer for Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. “This one appears that it could be linked to some human trafficking attempts.”
The texts have been reported and posted on social media by people from all across the country. Now, those in the North Alabama area have received them as well.
Mike Swafford is one of the latest recipients of the messages.
“I received a text, just a random text — ‘Hey, is this you?'” he said. “It wasn’t, so I reported it as spam and it went away.”
News 19s Lauren Harksen received one of the messages too.
While many of the messages circulating on social media do differ, a lot of them are still very similar. Many of the words are misspelled and have asterisks or accents over the letters.
“When you get these spam messages, scam messages, don’t respond especially if you have children or teenagers,” said Swafford. “They get into a conversation with a person and they’re good a lot of times. They’re convincing and can talk you into doing things you don’t want to do.”
Swafford reminds recipients of the messages that they are in control, not whoever is behind the spam messages.
“It wasn’t involved in your life a minute ago, don’t let it be involved now,” he added.
In this day in age, it’s difficult to track numbers because they can be deleted or changed quickly. Even so, if you receive similar messages, feel free to contact your local law enforcement so they are aware.