November 20, 2018

Police warn of scams soliciting gift cards

The Criminal Investigations Division of the Rapid City Police Department has observed an increase in the number of scams reported involving a caller soliciting gift cards as payment.

These scams can take a variety of forms that include:

  • Claiming to be a member of the Internal Revenue Service seeking back taxes
  • Claiming to be a local member of law enforcement seeking payment for an outstanding warrant
  • Claiming a member of a person’s family is in trouble with the law, and seeking bond or bail payment
  • Any other online transaction for goods/services where gift cards are requested as a form of payment

Even though these stories take wildly different forms, the desired method of payment seems to be the same. The scammer will ask for gift cards be purchased and request the card information be given to them over the phone in order to resolve the circumstances.

“The public should be advised that the solicitation of gift cards should always serve as a huge red flag to a scam,” says RCPD Detective Barry Young. “If you receive a call claiming any one of these already-suspicious scenarios needs to be resolved through the purchase of retail gift cards, hang up immediately. These scammers take extensive steps to avoid being tracked, and these scams are incredibly difficult to solve once a victim has followed through with the request. Knowing how to identify these types of scams is the best defense to becoming a victim of them.”

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