SANATOGA PA – There are new twists on an old gift card phone scam that Lower Pottsgrove police report suspects are using now to prey upon unsuspecting elderly victims living in the township.
The police department in a Facebook post Thursday (Feb. 23, 2017) said callers to selected homes tell elderly residents that a grandchild has been arrested. To bail him or her out of jail, they’re directed to buy “gift cards in varying amounts from various stores,” it said; then return a call to the suspects and “provide the gift card number and PIN number on the back” of each card.
During the first call, victims may actually talk with two people, posing as police officers or attorneys for the grandchild. Additionally, someone pretending to be the grandchild may call back later and “ask for more gift cards for various reasons,” according to the department. The fake grandchild also will warn the victims “not to tell parents” of their legal troubles.
Because stores selling gift cards are wary of scammers, victims also are warned not to tell store employees why they’re buying them. “Suspects have specifically told victims that stores will not allow them to purchase cards if they discover the true reason for the purchase,” police said.
Township detectives report some perpetrators “do not always use the cards immediately.” Anyone who feels they are victims of these scams should “immediately check with the businesses that issued the gift cards to see if the funds are still available … Some businesses will freeze the cards, while others are willing to transfer the funds to a new gift card to prevent the actors from gaining access to the funds.”
If you’re a victim, also call the police – 610-326-1508 – who are working to catch these bad actors.
Photo from Google Images