Consumers must be ever vigilant, as there appears to be a new scam everyday.
The latest one making the round in Kimberley, involves gift cards.
Stephanie Ames, manager of Kimberley’s Save On Foods, says that a local customer recently got taken in by a very aggressive caller, claiming to be from the person’s bank and saying that there is a bank issue.
The customer is told to go get $1000 in Google or Apple gift cards to pay the money back.
While it may seem like an odd request, the caller is very aggressive and will threaten charges of embezzlement if the person doesn’t comply. The person is also told that if anyone questions the purchase of the cards, to say it’s for a gift.
The customer purchased the cards and then gave the activation codes to the scammer over the phone, Ames says.
Consumers should be aware that they must never give out any personal information over the phone, including activation codes for gift cards.
Ames says that if the activation codes hadn’t been given out, the store could have refunded the cards, but with the code having been shared, the cards are now worthless.
She has also put up signs in the store, warning customers of the scam.
The Consumer Protection Agency has several questions to ask yourself to recognize scams.
Has someone contacted you unexpectedly?
Have they promised you something?
Have they asked you to do something?
And specific to being asked to buy gift cards:
Gift cards or iTunes vouchers are a common currency for scammers. Scammers can contact you pretending to be from a government department, law firm or other trusted business, suggesting an urgent payment needs to be made using iTunes or other vouchers in exchange for solving an issue. It can be to cover a tax, fine, legal fees, bills or any other costs. Scammers usually put some pressure on you, saying that you or somebody from your family might face criminal charges, lose immigration visa, or employment status. After the vouchers or cards have been purchased they will ask you for the voucher codes that they later on sell online at discount prices.
To avoid gift card or voucher scams, remember:
• Government departments or private business never demand payment in iTunes vouchers, supermarket vouchers, or other kinds of gift cards.
• If you receive a call from a business or government department or business informing you that something will happen unless you make an immediate payment you can hang up and search their Customer Service number on Google or in the phone book – they will have a record of what you may or may not owe them.