(January 11, 2019)-  The Cape Coral Police Department wants to let everyone know of scams involving the use of gift cards.

You can purchase gift cards nearly anywhere these days and they are very popular as a present. Unfortunately, there is also a significant increase in the use of gift cards and criminal activity with SCAMS! The specific story the criminal will give you ranges significantly but there are some very key signs that the person is trying to scam you. We live in a digital time where everything happens quickly. We have the mindset that we must act just as quickly. If you think something isn’t right, take a breath and slow things down. Tell the caller you won’t be rushed and will call them back, then do your research or call the police department. We would much rather get more telephone calls inquiring about a potential scam than having to explain that you were a victim and your money is gone. The majority of the victims are often older Americans.

Here are some tips to prevent getting scammed:

  • If you receive a call or email asking for payment by gift card, know that it’s a scam. Report it to the police department and the Federal Trade Commission right away.

  • Never provide your gift card number and pin to anyone you don’t know. Once those numbers are gone, so is your money.

  • Do NOT share your personal information with an unknown caller. Even if the caller has some of your information you should be cautious. If you are in doubt then hangup and look up the verified business number yourself and call.

  • If you’re pressured to act quickly or given a time frame to provide information or account information, the odds are extremely high that it’s a scam.

  • Don’t open email attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re from legitimate sources. Search business records and reviews online to check them out.

  • Do your own research. If the deal the person is giving you sounds too good to be true….it is!

  • The IRS will NOT call and tell you that you will go to jail unless you send them account information or gift cards numbers.

  • Never give the caller access to your computer! A person can remote into your computer if you give them certain information, which they are more than helpful to walk you through the process to get the connection.

  • If you get a text, call, or email that your bank account has been compromised due to suspicious activity and to call a specific number be cautious. Call the number on the back of your credit card or look up the bank’s telephone number online and call that number, not the one given.

Some of these scams can appear that they are from a legitimate business. Be alert, be cautious, do your research, don’t be intimidated to rush, and call the verified business number instead of the number they give you.

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CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341