IF ANYONE ASKS YOU TO USE A GIFT CARD AS A MEANS TO PAY A FINE, FEE OR SETTLE ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT DEBT, IT IS A SCAM. NO AGENCY WILL EVER REQUEST A GIFT CARD AS PAYMENT.
Have You Been Victimized by Scammers?
From credit card skimmers to online security breaches, both digital and physical scams are a part of life in modern society. The best way to protect yourself from these predators is to familiarize yourself with common practices, and be vigilant in securing your information. Use strong passwords online, do not use the same password for all of your logins, and always be on the lookout for potential scams.
If you notice unusual activity on your bank account, contact your financial institution immediately. If you are a victim of a scam, or are contacted by a suspicious organization, report this activity immediately to the Office of the Kentucky Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at this link.
Four Signs It's a Scam
1. Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know. Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the FTC, Social Security Administration, IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations. They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.
3. Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately. Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story. They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.
4. Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way. They often insist that you can only pay by using cryptocurrency, wiring money through a company like MoneyGram or Western Union, using a payment app, or putting money on a gift card and then giving them the numbers on the back of the card. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), then tell you to deposit it and send them money.
Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Honest organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
If you get an email or text message from a company you do business with and you think it’s real, it’s still best not to click on any links. Instead, contact them using a website you know is trustworthy. Or look up their phone number. Don’t call a number they gave you or the number from your caller ID.
Resist the pressure to act immediately. Honest businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.
Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists that you can only pay with cryptocurrency, a wire transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram, a payment app, or a gift card. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone. Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.