EPCSO: Beware of gift card scammers attempting to swipe people’s money

Crime

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is warning the community about gift card scammers who have already swiped several people’s money.

According to a news release, detectives investigated a case this week involving a victim who arranged to get a dog through Craiglist.

Officials say the scammer instructed the buyer to purchase an Amazon gift card and text its code on the back.

The telephone numbers linked to this scam are 915-516-9630 and 678-661-7565, investigators say.

According to the release, providing scammers with gift card codes gives them access to turn the funds into cash, ultimately depriving victims of their money.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office recommends following these tips to protect yourself from the scam:

  • Consumers are encouraged not to pay or purchase goods or services from an online seller if they do not feel safe or are unsure.
  • Meet the seller in person and in a safe public place.
  • Ensure you pay with a verified form of payment and that you exchange the payment at the time you receive the services or items purchased.
  • Ignore calls or emails from individuals you do not know.
  • Amazon gift cards can only be used on Amazon, and never can be used as a legitimate payment to other businesses and individuals.
  • Scammers reach out to Amazon consumers via email, phone or social media and offer deeply discounted deals on not only Amazon gift cards, but gift cards from third-party providers (like banks and credit card providers.) Often, the message comes with a call for urgency, i.e., the fraudster says he’s about to lose his home or have his car repossessed, and offers goods that can be purchased at a steep discount with Amazon gift cards, and by gift cards that are sold on Amazon.

Anyone who has fallen victim to this scam is asked to call the El Paso Police Department’s non-emergency number is 915-832-4400 or the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 915-832-4408.

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