EVANGELINE PARISH, La. (KLFY) — The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to be aware of text messages using fake prizes to get them to click on a potentially dangerous link.

The sheriff’s office said it received information from the public regarding a new scam using phony text messages being sent by scammers under the name of several local businesses including ACE Hardware, Home Depot and Lowes.

“These scammers are sending text messages to various people telling their would-be victims that they’ve won different prizes to include power drills and other hardware items,” police said. “Embedded within the text message is a link the receiver is supposed to click on in order to claim their prize.”

Sheriff Charles Guillory said EPSO detectives conducted an inquiry which revealed none of the local businesses were sending text messages to the public regarding prize claims.

“It’s the holiday season, and scammers are stepping up their game because they know the public are on their mobile devices and computers spending money,” Guillory said. “That’s why I want to make the public aware of these scams, not just in my parish but the entire Acadiana area. And if someone does receive a strange text message or email and they don’t know where or who it came from, that contains a link you can click on, I would strongly advise against it. It needs to be deleted from the device, and/or reported to local law enforcement.”

Guillory urges the public to contact the EPSO Investigation Department at 337-363-2161 or through the agency’s website at evangelineparishsheriff.org. Anyone reporting information will remain anonymous.