Gift Card Scams are on the Rise in NY

Police in New York told residents they're seeing an increase in gift card scams, and in some instances, tricky scammers are posing as Spectrum workers.

Police say that once a scammer gets your money, you're more than likely not getting it back - and they laid out the red flag warning signs to prevent it from happening to you.

5 NY counties about an hour or two south of Albany, were affected.

According to a press release by the NYSP,  the 5 counties affected were Essex, Hamilton, Franklin, Clinton, and St. Lawrence and the "Bureau of Criminal Investigation is seeing an increase in high-volume scams regarding gift cards."

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\Here's How the Scam Works

According to the press release, scam artists are posing as Spectrum workers and requesting people to pay their bills with gift cards.

  • The caller in most scenarios will advise the victim to get a specific amount of money in gift cards.
  • The victim will purchase the gift card and then read the information on the back of the gift card to the caller or send the bar code on the back of the gift card to the caller.
  • The money on the gift card is siphoned off.
  • These gift card increments could be anywhere from $50-$500. Once the caller receives this information, the money is transferred, and the victim is out of the money.

NYS Police Explain How to Prevent It

If you receive a call from someone asking for money, or in this case, about a gift card, proceed with caution.

State Police remind people to always verify the caller’s identity, and if you can, check with the customer service representatives of that company by calling them to see if it's legit. In most cases, these scammers are from outside of the country.

Also, the State Police said to never send gift cards, gift card numbers, money transfers, or cash.  Adding that, once the scammer receives it, it is gone.

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