LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for scammers to strike.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron is joining multiple groups to help warn Kentuckians about gift card scams this holiday.
This is when scammers pose as a government official or even someone close, like a coworker or family member, and try and get people to buy gift cards to avoid arrest or settle a fake debt.
The Kentucky Retail Federation and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce are joining the attorney general to help put the warning out, so consumers don’t get scammed.
“What we’re hoping to see and working with them on is putting signage up at those gift card areas just with different tips and signs for the consumer to be aware of. If a government agency has called you and say they need payment with a gift card, don’t do it,” Steve McClain of the Kentucky Retail Federation told FOX 56.
The gift card scam is not necessarily new, and warnings like this have gone out regularly during the holiday season in recent years. McClain said it’s also common to see it around tax filing season. However, despite the warnings, scammers are still duping people through this method.
“Last year Kentuckians lost what they feel is about $600-thousand, that they know of, in gift card scams. But the suspicion is that it’s actually much higher than that because, of course, some of the time people don’t report that they’d been scammed,” McClain said.
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Jacqueline Pitts of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce said scammers are more advanced methods to try and scam people.
“I think that the language they’re using, the email addresses they’re using, everything has become more sophisticated where it is easy to fall for these types of things,” Pitts said.
Pitts says she’s seen scam emails come through the Chamber of Commerce’s own system. The gift card scam also presents a threat to the workplace, when a scammer spoofs a coworker or manager’s own email and requests they go out and buy several gift cards for a work function.
“If you get an email from your boss and it says something like that, go ask them, make sure that this is right, that they actually asked you for that before you go ahead and try and buy those,” Pitts said.
If you are contacted by someone you suspect is scamming you or fall victim to a scam, you are encouraged to report it to the Attorney General’s office.