Local authorities are offering advice for anyone who may be approached by individuals that make them feel unsafe.

Recently, several reports have surfaced on social media about women being approached at malls and other stores across the state by strangers who claim to be inviting them to Bible studies.

Some reports mention the Fayette Mall, located in Lexington and Florence Mall in northern Kentucky.

The reports all feature the same story -- two or three women carrying Bibles will approach a lone woman and invite her to a Bible study. In some reports, the women give addresses that lead to vacant homes, while in other reports, the women are asked to join the Bible study in one of the other women's vehicle.

No matter the reason for the women approaching individuals, authorities are cautioning everyone to be careful whenever approached by strangers.

Sheriff Patrick Boggs said to always be aware of surroundings and to always look up an address before going to a stranger's home.

"If they give you a home address, you can always look it up and find out where the home is located," Boggs said.

Boggs also said to look up any organization or group before agreeing to accompany them.

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"With the technology we have today, it's simple to look up an organization before going somewhere," he said. "That being said, there are some groups who are smart enough to create a fake website; my advice is to be diligent in your search and always know the facts."

According to Boggs, scams are prevalent throughout the year but are often worse during the holiday season.

"Scams always seem to be worse during the holiday season," he said. "So, I always caution everyone to do their research."

Women's Crisis Center Director Melissa Greenwell also advises anyone leary about an invitation to a stranger's home to look up the address and the organization to which the person claims affiliation.

"I would also tell them to check with local authorities," she said. "That way, they can verify if the organization/group is legitimate. If it's not legitimate, the people should be reported to the authorities."

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Christy Howell-Hoots is a reporter for The Ledger Independent newspaper, covering Bracken County

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