Data Security

Online Scams Involving Gift Cards on the Rise

According to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center’s statistics,from  January to June 2017 there have been hundreds of victims who have lost more than $6 million to online scams involving the purchase of music and other gift cards. These schemes include employment/opportunity scams, romance scams, ransomware scams, tax frauds, and various other online scams.

Unfortunately, some members of ETFCU have fallen victim to such scams where they are asked to purchase iTunes, PayPal, or other gift cards and then provide the card numbers to someone whom they have met online. Once the card numbers are sent to the individual via text messaging or other means,
the funds are rapidly withdrawn, usually in a foreign country. Often, at this point our member finds out that their fiancé, friend, or so-called employer is nothing more than a fake online profile they’ve been conversing with for months or even years.

While purchasing gift cards is safe, it is the step where the gift card is provided to the scam artist that causes the loss. Remember to be skeptical, never give out sensitive information to unknown persons online, resist acting quickly to their demands, avoid clicking links in pop-up windows or emails, be cautious of any email attachments or suspicious websites, and ensure that your anti-virus software is up to date on your devices.

For more information on types of scams and how to prevent them, visit ETFCU’s website at etfcu.org/fraud or the NCUA Fraud Prevention Center at mycreditunion.gov/fraud.