The Federal Trade Commission recently warned people about a new gift card scam that targets worshippers.
According to the FTC, scammers will pretend to be a pastor, bishop, rabbi, priest or imam and ask the target for gift card contributions that they promise to put toward a worthy cause. And the messages aren't just via email; scammers are using phone calls and texts as well.
The gift card the scammers request people buy are usually popular, such as iTunes, Google Play or Amazon. They then request the gift card number and PIN, numbers that give the scammers access to the money on the card. Once they have that information, the scammers then disappear with the money.
Some telltale signs that the email, call or text is a scam is that the target's name isn't mentioned at all, or if it is, it is either misspelled or mispronounced. People can also check the email address and see if the service provider is different than what the church normally uses.
But the alert also outlines what people who have unwittingly paid a scammer via gift card can do. The first step is to report the scam to the FTC as soon as possible. Then call the gift card company and inform them of what happened with the particular gift card.
Once the most pressing steps are completed, people can file a complaint with the FTC, which help police and other law enforcement agencies investigate the crime and stop the scammers.
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