BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The Bowling Green Police Department says officers have been seeing a very high number of scams recently reported.
Police say one scam involved sending a letter to someone's email, claiming to have hacked into their computer.That email is attached to this web story. Police say the email was sent to Deborah West, from someone trying to scam her.
13 News was able to speak to West about the email she received.
"It kind of pulled you into the meat of the email, and I was like 'well gosh, who is this person who doesn't want to see me hurt', says West, reading the first few lines of the letter.
But reading further, the email requested Deborah send money and claimed her computer had been hacked.
She explains the content of the email, saying, "If I don't give him 315 U.S. dollars in bitcoin, which relates to thousands of dollars from the country he was calling from, that he planted ransomware throughout my computer and literally it could go into documents, it could go into photos, it could go into various things on your computer, and they're very hard to detect."
West says she called police after getting the email, knowing not to respond to the scammer.
"I advised them at that point to turn their computer off and disconnect it from the internet and then seek out someone who was an expert in computers to be able to determine if a virus had in fact infected their computer," says Ronnie Ward, with the Bowling Green Police Department. "Fortunately they found out that it wasn't so everything in the letter was fake, but if you don't know that, you get scared, because some people, their entire lives are on their computer."
Police say several scams have been circulating throughout the area.
"Some of the scams that we're seeing right now is, as we call, "the grandparent scam", where your grandchild calls you and says they're in another country and they're in trouble. They need a bunch of money to get out of jail and they don't want you to tell their parents about it. Of course, the grandparents want to do everything they can to help out their family," says Ward.
He goes on to say, "We're also seeing the IRS scam where it looks like a letter from the IRS or a phone call from the IRS telling you that if you don't pay them money that you owe for taxes, they're going to come put you in jail."
"We've even seen some that look like they're from the Bowling Green Police Department that says you have a warrant and if you don't pay us the money over the phone we're going to come arrest you," he adds, describing some scams people have reported.
Officers say it's the elderly who they typically see falling victim to these scams.
"I really believe that they just grew up in a different time when they didn't tell their neighbors "no" and they didn't tell their neighbors "no", and they really didn't say "no" at all. I mean if you needed something, they helped," says Ward.
But he says everyone needs to be careful, saying, "We're in an information age where they [the scammers] can get emails and phone calls from anywhere in the world, and it make it look like it's coming from next door."
Officers say to not take people's word for it when they call you and ask for something -- especially money.
"If they're asking you for a gift card for payment, it's a scam, if they're asking you to Western Union money, it's a scam," warns Ward.
Ward says, "Education is the best medicine that we can give right now, just to tell you what's out there and don't trust anything that you see."
Police say if you fall victim to a scam to contact them.