Earlier this summer I opened myself up to become a victim of two of the newest types of scams. This is not something that I should have let happens, but they did. These were gift card scams and I fell for them, but in the process, I learned a few things that I am willing to pass on to people because everyone needs to know what to do and what not to.
Scammers of this type are really great actors. They can make you think that you are talking to your pastor or some law enforcement person. They can make you think that what they want you to do is going to do some ultimate good like providing gift cards for women battling breast cancer. They can make you think that you are unknowingly a victim of identity theft and you are not. They can make you think that you might be charged with a crime when in reality, they are using you to commit a crime and you become your own victim. They will use your money and it will be difficult to get it back. They will promise to reimburse you and not deliver.
Scammers are great liars. Listen to their every word and you'll know that to be true. They may use texting to make you think that your pastor needs you to do something. If it is buying gift cards, there is a real clue here. For one, with your pastor, everything should be public at least in your congregation. If someone is posing to be your pastor, don’t be an idiot. Call your church office and let them know that this is happening. The staff, or the pastor himself, will verify the truth.
Scammers are working the phones to get around the blocking software that prevents your exposure to phishing emails to get to you. Use your caller ID service on your landline and call blocker apps on your smartphone. If a call has no name, don’t answer it. If there is a name, and you don’t know the person, don’t answer. They are not your friend! They want your money!
Scammers are trying to get you to do their dirty work, especially with gift cards. They love making you believe that they are Federal Agents. They may even give you a name and a badge number to make you believe that you are in trouble with the law. Don’t believe a single word they tell you. Report all this to your local police department. They are the gatekeepers for the FBI and they are obligated to share this information with the FBI. Don’t let yourself be lied to.