The Wake Forest Police Department is urging area residents to guard against becoming the victim of fraud following recently reported phone scams involving gift cards. Many times it’s hard to tell what is a scam and what isn’t. Whenever someone asks you to pay using a gift card, it’s always a scam.
Gift cards are being used as part of several different scams, including IRS, jury duty and grandparent scams. When scammers ask for money or demand that you pay them, they’ll direct you to buy a set of gift cards. These gift cards can be for a range of stores or products, including Target, Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play. Then, they’ll ask you to give them the gift card number and PIN information from the back of the card. Once they have that information, they can spend your money using the gift cards.
These scammers can be extremely difficult to track down, so if you are asked to buy prepaid gift cards to pay for anything, don’t make the purchase and call the Police Department at 919.554.6150.
Protect yourself from gift card scams by remembering the following:
- Gift cards are for gifts, not payments. Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always a scammer.
- Never share the code on the back of a gift card.
- Hang up on illegal robocalls.
- Slow down and ask questions of telemarketers. Legitimate businesses and charities will answer questions and give you time to consider a purchase or donation. Scam callers will pressure you to commit right away.
- Don’t give personal or financial data, such as your Social Security number or credit card account number, to callers you don’t know. If they say they have the information and just need you to confirm it, that’s a trick.
- Don’t pay registration or shipping charges to get a supposed free product or prize. Such fees are ploys to get your payment information.
If you are a Wake Forest resident and believe that you are a victim of this type of crime, report it to the Wake Forest Police Department at 919.554.6150.
For US residents nationwide, gift card scams may be reported to your local police department or sheriff’s office. Scams may also be reported to the gift card provider. See a short list here. You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Source: Bill Crabtree, Town of Wake Forest