Sanborn County Sheriff issues another scam alert

Gift cards have become a very popular way to give someone a gift, especially since they can now be purchased online for most of the chain stores and restaurants, or they can be purchased in department stores for food chains and online shopping services. They are incredibly convenient, but maybe too convenient. They have also become a popular way for scammers to steal money from innocent people. 

Gift cards are to be used as gifts, not payments for anything. According to Sanborn County Sheriff Tom Fridley, any legitimate agency will NOT ask for payment of a warrant of arrest or other legal costs by asking for gift cards, phone cards, money orders or bit coins. Sheriff Fridley wants everyone to know that anyone who asks for payment of anything with a gift card is a scammer, and they are stealing your money. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website, “Many different kinds of “imposters” ask you to pay with gift cards. Someone might call you and claim to be from the IRS, collecting back taxes or fines. The caller might say he’s from tech support, asking for money to fix your computer. The caller might even say she’s a family member with an emergency and needs money right now.” They all have one thing in common, they have an urgent need for the money right away. Some of the scammers will ask you to wire money, but they are increasingly starting to ask for money to be put on a gift card. They will often ask you to buy a popular gift card for services like iTunes, Google Play or Amazon. 

Other scammers might demand a gift card payment for utilities or those said utilities will be shut off. According to a recent story on KELOland news, many scammers have pilfered thousands of dollars from South Dakotans by calling and saying that the person has won a prize for a sweepstakes they may have never even entered, but in order to get the prize, the person has to use a gift card to pay for fees or other charges. 

All of the previous scenarios are scams. If anyone tells you to pay for something by gift card or by wiring money, for any reason, they are definitely scamming you out of money, every time. If you have paid a scammer with a gift card, or if you know of anyone who has, contact the Sanborn County Sheriff’s office, and they will try to help with whatever they can or lead you in the right direction to try to recoup some of the money that was stolen from you.

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