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Posted on: June 4, 2019

Scam Alert: Don’t Be a Victim of Fraud

Gift Card Scam

The Jacksonville Police Department is warning citizens to be aware of recently reported fraud activities and scams. It has been reported that intended fraud victims receive a call from imposters posting as loved ones, Internal Revenue Service, law enforcement or a banking institution. The scammer demands that gift cards be sent in return for services.

“Typically, these scammers are targeting senior citizens or intellectually disabled individuals, taking advantage of their vulnerability” said Sergeant Shawn Marcinowsky, a supervisor in the Investigative Services Division. “Please talk to your family members, friends and neighbors who may not have heard about these scams.” 

Detectives report that most banks cannot credit victims of these frauds. “Most of these types of frauds are tracked to perpetrators overseas, which makes it extremely difficult for law enforcement to pursue the case” said Sergeant Marcinowsky. “If someone demands that you pay them with a gift card, don’t do it.  It’s likely to be a scam.” 

The department is aware of cases after Hurricane Florence in which imposters are coming into our community and committing fraud. The scammer often demands a down payment for repair or restoration services and never shows up to do or complete the work. Some tips to protect yourself from fraud:

Never give your Social Security number, credit card or bank account number to anyone you don’t know who contacts you.

Don’t pay money up front to get a loan, collect a prize, or for debt settlement, credit repair or foreclosure help. It’s illegal to require such a payment.

Say no to high-pressure sales pitches. If the offer is only good today, walk away.

Be cautious when responding to telemarketers, door-to-door sellers, and email or text pitches.

Beware of offers that sound too good to be true, or promise huge rewards with little or no risk. 

If you think you have been the victim of a scam or are aware of fraudulent activity, please contact your local law enforcement agency.  Citizens can also file a complaint on line with the North Carolina Attorney General’s office at NCDOJ.gov

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