(WHTM) — AARP says there were a lot of scams involving COVID and gift card payments last year.
COVID-19 scams evolved over the course of the pandemic, like bogus post-vaccine surveys that tried to get you to click a link for a reward. All you had to do was provide payment and pay a small fee then the scammer had your card number.
After FEMA announced funds to help with COVID-related funeral expenses, scammers started impersonating FEMA and offering to help people register for the program for a small fee. Government agencies do not charge to register for programs.
There was also a massive wave of unemployment compensation scams with criminals stealing identities to collect unemployment. And the gift card payment scam. Criminals used many different storylines for this one.
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Scammers would call with an urgent message from the IRS, Social Security, or maybe a utility company saying you owed money. All you had to do to pay is go buy a gift card from a certain store and call them back with the PIN number for the card then the criminal drained the gift card before the victim realized it was a scam.
AARP warns anytime anyone seeks payment for anything with a gift card it is a scam and you should not do it.