• Beware of scammers demanding gift cards as payments, BBB says

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - More scammers are demanding gift cards as payments.

    Staff with the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South said this is a growing trend in our area, especially for scams targeting senior citizens.

    This week, George Seal picked up a call from someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer who said Seal’s name was associated with fraudulent activity. 

    The man said Seal was going to be arrested immediately if he didn't pay up.

    “They [scammer] was telling me I was going to have to give them $200 and then the police were going to be out there today,” said Seal. 


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    Seal said the man demanded the payment in the form of a Walmart gift card.

    At the time, he didn’t realize it was a scammer. 

    Members of the BBB said here were more than 300 scams targeting seniors from May 2018 to May 2019. Of those cases, 28 people lost money and in most of those cases, scammers wanted victims to buy gift cards.

    Seal told FOX13 he seriously considered buying the gift card.

    “I’m thinking that’s going to clean my record. I don’t want no bad record. Yeah, I’m thinking for just $200 that’s going to make them stop calling me and stop hounding me,” said Seal. 

    But BBB staff members said that doesn’t work. Once a scammer has the security code on the gift card, they can access the money instantly and it’s untraceable.

    But when he got to Walmart, instead of calling back the scammer, Seal said he called the BBB. 

    “I called them, and they said, ‘Whoa don’t send them nothing,’” said Seal. 

    According to the BBB, seniors are less likely to fall for scams compared to millennials. But when they do, seniors often lose an average of $400.

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