MEADVILLE — Pennsylvania State Police are reminding residents to be vigilant about scams involving gift cards. Gift cards are for gifts, not payments.
The State Police are aware of several variations on scams in which the scammer claims the victim has a problem that must be solved immediately and that payment in gift cards is required to solve it. Some of these variations include:
— Claims of problems such as outstanding warrants, tax debts, or utility bills.
— Claims that a relative is visiting oversees and needs money to pay a hospital bill or bail. This is frequently called the “grandparent scam.”
— Claims to be collecting gift cards for charity.
— Promises of employment in exchange for payment. These jobs do not exist or may involve illegal activities.
— Requests sent by email or text from a friend for a “favor” to purchase gift cards with claims that the “friend” will pay the victim back.
-— The caller might say they are from tech support, asking for money to fix your computer.
— Callers pretending to be from a utility company, telling you to pay your bill by gift card or they’ll cut off your power or water.
— Sellers on online auction sites who ask for gift cards to “buy” big items like cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, tractors and electronics.
— Someone posing as a service member to get your sympathy, saying they must sell something quickly before deployment and needs you to pay by gift card.
— Callers who say you’ve won a so-called prize, for a sweepstakes you probably never entered – but first, you must use a gift card to pay fees or other charges.
— Someone buying something from you, probably online, who sends a check for more than the purchase price – and asks you to give them the difference on a gift card. (That check will turn out to be fake.)