NYSP warning public about online gift card scam

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NEW YORK STATE (NEWS10) — New York State Police are reminding people to use extra caution when asked to purchase gift cards for a third party over the internet.

Police say investigators are currently handling multiple incidents where a victim was asked to purchase gift cards as payment for goods or services, or to help a person falsely representing themselves as an associate of the victim. They say in these cases, the victim is asked to purchase gift cards from various retailers and then give the serial number on the back of the card.

Police say on June 26, a victim tried to buy an ATV on the internet. As payment, the victim was asked to buy $1,000 worth of eBay gift cards and provide the seller with the serial numbers from the cards. The victim was then reportedly asked to buy another $800 in gift cards as insurance. After receiving the serial number, the seller stopped all contact.

Police also say in a separate incident on July 6, a victim was contacted by email by a scammer who claimed to be an associate of the victim’s and asked for financial aid to help a local church. The victim was asked to buy $500 in eBay gift cards with the belief they would be reimbursed.

After they purchased the cards and gave the serial numbers, they were reportedly asked for more money. The total loss to the victim was $2,000.

State Police urge anyone who is asked to buy gift cards for a third party to use extra caution, as they may be the target of a scam.

Police say if anyone believes they may be the victim of a scam to contact the New York State Police or local law enforcement.

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