Email Gift Card Scam Targets Dental Professionals in California
If someone calls with urgent news or a convincing story and then pressures you to pay them by buying a gift card, like an iTunes or Google Play card, and then giving them the codes on the back of the card – stop. It’s a scam.
A current email scam is attempting to trick Dental Professionals in California. They force the recipient into purchasing a high-value gift card from a multinational retailer using someone else’s name. There are several reports from members who have received the imposter email and has confirmed that the emails are circulating to individuals in the dental field.
The Scammer Pretends to be Someone You Trust
The scammer pretends to be someone the recipient trusts to convince the recipient to send them money or to purchase gift cards. He will ask the recipient to provide the gift card number and PIN on the purchased card’s back.
They might pose as IRS officials and say you’re in trouble for not paying taxes, or a family member with an emergency; a public utility company threatening to shut off your water; or even a servicemember selling something before deployment. Or they might call with great news – you’ve won a contest or a prize! But to get it, you need to pay fees with a gift card. Scammers will say anything to get your money. And they know how to play into your fears, hopes, or sympathies.
CDA received confirmation last week of a similar email that fraudulently uses the name of ADS Dental Practice Transition’s president. They use “R. Del Brunner” as the signature to impersonate Dr. Brunner and use a casual tone but are not sent from a CDA email address or Brunner’s personal email.
A Scammer’s Favorite Way to Steal Money
Gift cards are a great way to give as a gift. But did you know they are also a scammer’s favorite way to steal money? The total number of imposter scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission increased by 270% between 2015-18, and the FTC says that gift cards, specifically, are a scammer’s favorite way to steal money.
Usually, the fraudsters request gift cards from popular retailers such as Amazon, Target, iTunes, and Walmart. In July, the FTC alerted consumers about a gift card scam in which the criminals posed as a local pastor to ask worshippers for gift card contributions toward a worthy cause.
“They like gift cards because, once they’ve got the code on the back, the money is gone and almost impossible to trace”the FTC stated in a recent blog post.
These pieces of information on the current imposter scam, such as the requested gift card amount, the delivery method, or the name used to try to trick recipients, may change. But any email or text that asks the recipient to buy a gift card, pay by gift card or wire money for any reason is “a sure sign of a scam – every time,” according to the FTC.
If You Paid a Scammer with a Gift Card, Report It as Soon as Possible.
Call the card company and tell them the gift card was used in a scam. Tell the FTC about it – or any other scam – at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports may help law enforcement agencies launch investigations that could stop imposters and other fraudsters in their tracks.
Here is the contact information for some of the gift card companies that scammers use most often:
- Call 1 (888) 280-4331
- Learn about Amazon gift card scams here.
- Call 1 (800) 275-2273 then press “6” for others, then say “operator” to be connected to a live representative.
- Learn about iTunes gift card scams and how to report them here.
- Call 1 (866) 795-7969
- Report a MoneyPak card scam online here.
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