Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reported a new wave of scams; this time, they’re targeting people of faith. As always, First Bank is committed to keeping you informed of scams that have the potential to impact you or family.

gift card fraud

The Scam

The scammers imitate a trusted pastor, priest, bishop, or rabbi. They ask for donations by gift card for various causes. Although the majority of these scams are being delivered through email, there have also been reports of the scammers using texts and phone calls. The fraudulent message asks the targeted victim to purchase a gift card (or multiple gift cards), typically from iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon, and then requests the gift card number, along with the secure number on the back of the card. Once the criminal has the gift card number, your gift card and the money that was on it, is gone.

First Bank would like to remind clients to stay vigilant and watch for the following:

  1. Fraudulent emails may look legitimate, but always review all emails carefully.
  2. There may be misspellings, typos, or may not include your name in the salutation.
  3. The “from” email address may be slightly different than the normal email address used by your place of worship or religious leader.
  4. The “from” email address may be from a different provider than the normal one used by your place of worship or religious leader.
  5. Sense of urgency in the email.

How to Report

If you or someone you know has been a victim of this type of scam, please report it immediately by contacting the gift card company as well as the FTC. Your timely reports can help investigators stop these fraudulent scammers from targeting more victims.

For more information, please visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/07/worshipers-targeted-gift-card-scam?utm_source=govdelivery.