With Christmas around the corner, the sale of gift cards increases. During the Christmas season, there is also a rise in purchases of gift cards used in relation to fraud. Here are a few reminders to keep you safe through the holidays and in the New Year:
- Never purchase gift cards as a form of payment; Government agencies, banking institutions and any other reputable business will not ask for payment by way of gift cards.
- If you receive a phone call, email or text message instructing to purchase gift cards, this is a scam!
- If you purchase the gift card and are told to scratch the backside and send codes, this is also an indicator that this is a scam!
- Remember that criminals may be “spoofing” the phone number on the Caller ID, so it may appear that the caller is your financial institution, Canada Revenue Agency, or your local police service, when it is not.
- If you are unsure, take the information, hang up then contact your bank, police service or government agency to verify the information.
- Talk to someone you trust before making any decisions related to purchases of this nature. In most cases, once you tell your story to someone else you will recognize that it doesn’t sound right. This may help to prevent you from falling victim to a scam.
- Remember why they are called gift cards – they are to be used as a gift for someone you care about, not as a form of currency to pay outstanding debts, taxes, utilities or daily living expenses.
If you are a victim of a gift card scam, or any other fraud, please call the Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500.