The Latest Tricks Criminals Are Using to Scam You!

Gift cards are popular with scammers because they're more like cash. Here's what to watch for.

Scam Alert!  Audra’s neighbor was the target of the latest ongoing gift card scam.  We thought this would be a great time to review with all of you so you know how to spot them. The Federal Trade Commission has videos and information on common scams going around.

Gift cards are popular with scammers because they’re more like cash, Once you use the card, the money on it is gone.  Scammers like that.  Once they have the gift card number and pin, they have your money.  They may tell you many stories to get you to buy them and then share the pin with them. They often scare or pressure you into acting quickly so you don’t have time to think or talk to someone you trust.  Common themes reported  include the caller that says they are from the government, maybe the IRS or Social Security Administration.  They say you have to pay taxes or a fine.  Or someone calls from tech support, saying they’re from Apple or Microsoft saying there’s a problem with your computer. Both are scams. If someone says you’ve won a prize but first you have to pay fees with a gift card, it’s a scam.  The caller may also claim to be from a utility company threatening to cut off your service.  It’s a scam.  You get a check from someone and they tell you to deposit the check then give them the difference on a gift card.  You will be out of all that money.

The scammer pretends to be a friend or family member in an emergency and asks you to send money right away but not tell anyone.  This can come in the form of an email from that friend’s email account.  This is the case of what happened with my neighbor.  He received an email from an account he was familiar with.  The account was either hacked or cloned to look similar.  In this case, the scammer wanted my neighbor to go to the store, purchase 3 Google Play cards and simply email him the number and pins.  If this happens to you.  Stop communicating, call your friend and inform them.  You can contact your state attorney general, and the Federal Trade Commission immediately.  If you lost money, report it to local law enforcement.  You will need the report when you deal with the card issuer.

For more information click here or visit www.consumer.ftc.gov.