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Westminster Police warns residents of gift card scams

The Westminster Police Department said gift card scams and fraud are on the rise in the city — and warned residents to be wary of calls demanding payment for delinquent accounts by purchasing gift cards.

“In these types of scams, the targeted victim receives a telephone call or an email from an individual demanding immediate payment for a delinquent account balance, and instructs the victim to provide payment using a form of electronic technology,” states a media release from the police department Friday.

This includes the purchase of corporate gift cards, iTunes cards, Green Dot cards, Google Play cards and more.

“These situations have included demands to satisfy outstanding tax bills, bail money for friends or family, debt collection, or lottery winnings, just to name a few,” the release states. “The caller will instruct the victim to respond to a retailer and purchase a designated amount of gift cards. The caller will give the victim instructions to provide information that will allow the caller to use the cards to make purchases.”

The WPD encourages residents to try to get a call-back phone number and name from the individual making any such request, and then contact local law enforcement immediately to report the incident.

“If you receive an email requesting you to purchase gift cards or Google Play cards for any reason, do not respond to the request and contact your local law enforcement agency,” states the release.

Victims of this type of scam, who have reported it to their local law enforcement agency, can also report the scam or any other type of financial fraud to the Federal Trade Commission via email at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

Citizens can also report scams to the following companies if you purchased their gift cards:

  • Amazon: 1-888-280-4331;
  • Google Play: 1-855-466-4438;
  • iTunes: 1-800-275-2273 (then press 6 and ask for the operator).

Lt. Jeffrey Schuster at the Westminster Police Department can be reached for more information about this scam or other types of financial scams at 410-848-4646.

jennifer.turiano@carrollcountytimes.com

443-488-0369

twitter.com/jturianoCCT

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