NEW YORK STATE POLICE
Major Darrin S. Pitkin
Corps Commander D
New York State Police are sending a reminder to the public. If someone calls you, sends you messages, emails or sends you messages on social networks and asks you to send money in the form of a gift card, it is likely to be a scam.
New York State Police continue to receive complaints about various scams targeting people seeking money in the form of gift cards. Gift cards are a popular and convenient way to make a gift to someone. They are also a popular way for fraudsters to steal money from you. This is because gift cards are like cash: if you buy a gift card and someone uses it, you probably can not get your money back. Gift cards are for gifts, not for payments. Anyone seeking payment by gift card is always a scammer.
What they have in common is an urgent need for you to send money immediately. Scammers will sometimes ask you to tie money in front of them, but increasingly, they tell you to put money in a gift card.
Here’s what happens: the caller often tells you to buy a popular gift card, often, iTunes, Google Play or Amazon. The caller will tell you to pick up the card at a designated store near you often Walmart, Target, Walgreens or CVS. They may even make you buy some cards at some stores. Sometimes, the caller will stay on the phone with you as you go to the store. After purchasing the card, the caller will ask for the gift card number and PIN code on the back of the card. Those numbers allow them to immediately get the money you charged to the card. And once they have done so, the fraudsters and your money are gone, usually without a trace.
If you or you know someone who has paid with a gift card, call the card company and tell them that the card was used in a scam, there may be a possibility that the money has not been received yet. The Federal Trade Commission collects information about scams in https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/ asistent.
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