Amid a flurry of recent scams in Dawson County and surrounding areas, residents are urged to show caution when giving out personal information.
Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson described scammers using victims’ personal information to get anything from gift cards to a Verizon account or even an out-of-state car.
Among the most frequent schemes are gift card scams. In recent months, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office has seen a substantial increase in gift card scams, Johnson said.
Scammers are contacting residents and businesses via telephone and claiming to be with a government entity. The caller provides a story such as a report of fake money coming from the business to an out-of-state warrant that must be paid to avoid the call recipient’s arrest by local law enforcement.
Scammers may also target people while claiming to be tech support or a family friend or member.
“Someone might ask you to pay for something by putting money on a gift card, like a Google Play or iTunes card, and then giving them the numbers on the back of the card. If they ask you to do this, they’re trying to scam you,” stated the DCSO release, which included information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
That kind of payment request is a red flag.
No government entity, be it the FBI, GBI, U.S. Marshals or local law enforcement will call a business and request money.
“These scammers are requesting large amounts of money, ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 to be provided to them via gift card,” Johnson said in a recent press release.
“If you get one of these phone calls or your computer is taken over, contact Law Enforcement immediately and do not purchase any gift cards to be provided to the scammer.”
He also explained that “removing money from a business, without permission, to purchase gift cards in a scam could potentially result in criminal charges but will certainly result in the money having to be returned to the business.”
If people do fall victim to scams like this, they are encouraged not to destroy the gift card or cards. That card number is the only way the card can be tracked by law enforcement.
More information about these kinds of scams has been provided to the public by the Federal Trade Commission on its website, www.consumer.ftc.gov.