A number of residents in and around Burleigh County are reporting they are receiving unsolicited text messages, supposedly from a sheriff’s deputy, about subpoenas or other civil paperwork.

Spam?

No, in this case, it’s legitimate.

The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office notes in a Facebook post, “Our civil deputies will, in fact, send text messages as we have found nowadays most people do not answer calls from numbers they do not know and/or voicemails are full or inoperable. The text messages will include a name of the deputy trying to make contact as well as a brief summary of what actions need to be taken. If you receive these text messages and are concerned or believe it to be a scam, feel free to call the main office at 701-222-6651 and the office staff will assist you.”

With the growing number of phone scams designed to separate you from your money or designed to steal your identity, it may be hard to tell a genuine message from the fake ones.

They key is to separately call local law enforcement to verify the legitimacy of the message if you’re unsure.

Be suspicious of any message that asks you to send money, whether by gift cards, wire transfer or any other means. Law enforcement will never ask you to send money, period, through a message or phone call.