Many email scams target the vulnerable by way of telephone or mail, but this scam is targeting individuals via their inboxes.
The email could look like it is from your boss, pastor, principal or mayor of your town. The message will ask you to purchase gift cards to gift as giveaways or purchase gifts for the office/school etc.
“All scams start off seemingly innocent and believable. We are urging individuals to check the email the message is coming from and always confirm with the ‘sender’ in person if they truly asked for the task described,” said Director Robert M. Damminger.
The message in the initial email might be something like: "Jane, could you please email me back? I need a favor." Or "Sally, are you available at the moment? I need you to handle a project. Very busy at the moment. Can't talk. Just send an email when you receive this. Thanks."
And remember, the email is crafted to appear legitimate, often signed by someone we know. The email address is even similar to their email as well.
The email exchange will continue and eventually the victims will be asked to purchase gift cards in large quantities and share the codes so they can be used for a purchase.
The Federal Trade Commission has warned that more scammers are demanding payment on gift cards than ever before.
FTC website states: 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. Here is contact information for some of the gift card companies that scammers use most often. Then, 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.