NRP warns of gift card scam

The Niagara Regional Police Service has warned members of the public about frauds involving the purchasing of gift cards.

The scam works by the victims receiving emails or texts from scammers pretending to be someone they know and asking them to purchase gift cards. The scammer then asks that the victim to scratch the back of the gift cards and send them the information on the back so the funds can be used without having the card.

Always be wary of anyone asking for gift cards, Bitcoin or anything unusual as a form of payment or financial assistance. Scammers are able spoof emails and phone numbers so they can pretend to be someone the victim knows.

Here are a few reminders to keep safe:

  • Never purchase gift cards as a form of payment.
  • Be wary of phone call, email or text messages instructing receivers to purchase gift cards, this is a scam.
  • If one purchases the gift cards and is told to scratch the backside and send codes, this is a scam.
  • Remember that scammers are able to “spoof” the phone number on the Caller ID, so the caller may appear as a financial institution, Canada Revenue Agency, or even the local police service, when it actually is not.
  • Talk to someone trustworthy before making any decisions related to purchases of this nature. In most cases, telling the story to someone else can help folks recognize that it doesn’t sound right. This may help to prevent them from falling victim to a scam.
  • Remember why they are called gift cards – they are to be used as a gift for someone, not as a form of currency to pay outstanding debts, taxes, utilities or daily living expenses.

Those who have been a victim of a scam and experienced a financial loss, please call the Niagara Regional Police Service non-emergency number at 905-688-4111, dial option 2 and ask for “dispatch” to file a report.

Those who received one of these calls/messages but did not experience a financial loss, please report by calling Phonebusters at 1-888-495-8501 or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.

The Canadian Anti Fraud Centre website lists many current scams.

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