ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A Maple Park woman reported that she had been tricked into giving $3,000 worth of assorted gift cards to someone she thought worked for Amazon customer service, according to Kane County Sheriff’s reports.
The woman, a resident of the 2N600 block of Freeland Road in Maple Park reported Nov. 6 that she received an email from Amazon stating that a $6,000 television – which she didn’t order – would be delivered that day, the report stated.
She called what purported to be the Amazon customer service number listed on the message and talked with someone who said her account had been compromised and she needed to send money through Zelle so they could locate who did it, the report stated.
Zelle is a phone app that is used to make electronic payments.
Because she did not have a Zelle account, the Amazon employee told her to buy $3,000 worth of gift cards – eBay, Google Play, Target – and she needed to buy them in the next 90 minutes, so she did, the report stated.
According to the Federal Trade Commission website, consumer.ftc.gov, scammers will claim all kinds of things – such as they’re from the IRS, they’re from a tech company and your computer has a virus, or there is a family emergency.
What they all have in common is an urgency to have money sent right away, either by wire and now increasingly through money on a gift card. Once the caller has the numbers on the back of the gift card, the scammer and the money are gone, according to the website.
“If anyone tells you to pay by gift card, or by wiring money – for any reason – that’s a sure sign of a scam. Every time,” according to the website.
Popular gift cards scammers use are Amazon, eBay, Google Play, iTunes, Steam and MoneyPak. The website provides more information about how to report a gift card scam to the FTC.