Gift Card Scam Nearly Claims $2K Illinois Victim In Palos Park
Another day, another scam working its way across the country and through our state of Illinois.
With so many different scams that you have to try to be aware of in today's world, it probably seems very difficult to keep up with what scammers are doing and how best to protect yourself from them.
Just a few examples of some scams that are currently proving effective for the bad guys out there include:
- Puppy Scams
- Romance Scams
- Tax Scams
- Employment Scams
- Imposter Scams
- Phishing Scams
- The Grandparents Scam
- AI Voice Scams
- Tech Support Scams
- Payday Loan Scams
- Advance Fee Scams
- IRS Scams
And, of course, The Gift Card Scam.
Here's What The Gift Card Scam Is, And Why So Many People (Including Really Smart People) End Up Falling For It
According to a piece at the Federal Trade Commission's website, gift card scams start with a call, text, email, or social media message. Scammers will say almost anything to get you to buy gift cards, and hand over the card number and PIN codes to them.
They might say to put money on an eBay, Google Play, Target, or Apple gift card. They might send you to a specific store — often Walmart, Target, CVS, or Walgreens. Sometimes they’ll tell you to buy cards at several stores, so cashiers won’t get suspicious. The scammer also might stay on the phone with you while you go to the store and load money onto the card. If this happens to you, hang up. It’s a scam.
One particular tactic that has worked very well for scammers is to pretend that they are your boss and ask you for a favor.
The "Fake Call From The Boss" Angle On The Gift Card Scam Almost Grabbed Another Victim In Illinois, But A Palos Park Man Figured Out That Something Wasn't Right
A lot of people around the country, including multiple people in Illinois, have gotten a text or email from their boss that asks them to go out and buy a bunch of gift cards (usually in the hundreds or thousands of dollars) because the boss doesn't have the time to do it.
The boss will then ask, after you've made the purchase with your money (under the premise that you'll be paid back), that you give him/her the numbers off the backs of the gift cards. Once the person who's really not your boss gets those numbers, they're gone and so is your money.
That's what nearly happened in Palos Park, according to Patch.com:
On Tuesday, a Palos Park man told police he received an email from his boss asking him to "do me a favor." The man was instructed to buy 10 Amazon gift cards in increments of $200 each. Before emailing back the gift card PINs to his “boss,” the man examined the email more closely and realized it looked suspicious. He was able to avoid losing $2,000 when he called his employer to verify the email’s authenticity.