HOUSTON - Hang on tight to your wallet and your personal information. Law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau are warning you about scams going around right now.
Everyone loves a good deal, and scammers know it. The Better Business Bureau says they're receiving many complaints about coupon scams. These are fake coupons that look like they're from real stores that you'll see on social media, on websites, or in phishing emails.
"You’re on your social media page, and you’re looking at sunglasses during the day," explained Jennifer Salazar with the Better Business Bureau. "And on your social media page, there happens to be a coupon for 80% off of sunglasses. So, of course, you want to click on it."
She says it's easy to fall for because it will look like a real coupon for a real store.
"Absolutely, you think you're talking to a store, and remember scammers can and will steal logos," said Salazar.
To get that discount, or subscribe for more coupons, the scammers will ask for information like your name, date of birth, address, social security number and credit card number.
But here's how to spot the fakes: there will be no expiration date on the coupon, and you can use your mouse.
"Take your mouse, put it over the email address, whoever sent you the email, wait five seconds, the real email address will appear," said Salazar.
She says go the real store's website or call them to verify a coupon.
Meanwhile, the Liberty County Sheriff's Office says residents of Liberty and Montgomery counties are receiving phone calls from people posing as power company employees.
"Telling them their power is going to be cut off if their payment is not received. And if they don’t send in x number of dollars in the next two hours or so, their power will be cut off. These are total scams. We’ve also got information that Montgomery County has received the same type of calls," said Captain Ken Defoor wit the Liberty County Sheriff's Office.
If you receive one of these calls or coupons, experts say do not provide money or your personal information. You can report them to the police and Better Business Bureau.
We also got a tip about a local woman who reportedly lost $5000 trying to collect so-called free federal grants totaling $200,000.
The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert and an F rating on a company called American Hope Resources, which has nearly 90 complaints.
Consumers say they were contacted on Facebook by someone posing as someone they know, telling them they can get federal government grant support.
"When they follow up to get grant money, you have to pay taxes to get the grant money, and there's the issue. You pay your taxes and don't get the grant money," explained Richard Copelan with the Better Business Bureau in Santa Barbara, California.
The BBB says the company is linked to other websites as well, listing the United Family Network and the Single Parents Association of America.
We sent emails to all three organizations, but have not heard back. The email addresses were Gmail accounts.
When we called the only number we could find for American Hope Resources, we were offered information to save money on health insurance. We asked to speak with someone with American Hope Resources. We were given a second phone number and when we called the second number, we were referred to a third number. When we called the third number, it was disconnected.
For more information on how to protect yourself from scams, go to the BBB website.