Today’s Scam of the day was prompted by a Scamicide reader who unfortunately lost more than a thousand dollars to a scam that combined a common gift card scam with a counterfeit check scam. The Scamicide reader who unselfishly contacted me to alert others to this scam, went on to the website Rover.com which is a legitimate website where pet owners can find dog boarding, house sitting, dog walking and other pet related services. The Scamicide reader was contacted by the scammer posing as a dog owner who claimed he was moving to the area where the Scamicide reader lived and he needed someone to perform errands related to the dog he would be bringing with him when he moved. The scammer sent a check for $2,000 to the Scamicide reader to cover the costs and also the fees for the Scamicide reader. He next asked if the Scamicide reader would purchase some Amazon gift cards and provide him with the card numbers. The scammer said he needed the Amazon gift cards to buy fish and fish tanks. Of course the check sent to the Scamicide reader was counterfeit and bounced, leaving the Scamicide reader losing his own money he used to buy the gift cards.
One reason that gift cards are favored by scammers is that they are easy to obtain at many stores and all that the scammer needs in order to access the funds deposited into the card is the sixteen digit code on the back of the card which can be given to the scammer over the phone. In this particular scam, there would be no reason the scammer couldn’t purchase his own gift cards.
Gift card scams are easy to spot. Payments for products, services, IRS payments or even to help that needy grandchild in a foreign country who has gotten into some trouble are never legitimately done through gift cards so anytime that someone requires payment in this fashion for anything, you can be sure it is a scam. Be wary whenever you are asked to wire funds or send gift cards because this is a common theme in many scams because it is difficult to trace and impossible to stop. Legitimate companies do not use gift cards as payments.
Whenever you receive a check, wait for your bank to tell you that the check has fully cleared before you consider the funds as actually being in your account. Don’t rely on provisional credit which is given after a few days, but which will be rescinded once a check bounces and never accept a check for more than what is owed with the intention to send back the rest. That is always a scam.
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