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City of Cleburne News

Posted on: December 18, 2018

Police PSA: Be aware of scammers

credit card

The best way to avoid being the victim of a scam is to be aware of the warning signs and heed them. Scammers understand psychology and know how to manipulate people.

There are never any circumstances where a legitimate business or government department (IRS, Social Security, any county or city law enforcement) will ask for or require payment in any type of gift cards (iTunes, Google, etc.).

No matter the ploy, it works like this: Scammers make calls or reach out via email asking people to make payments over the phone for things such as taxes, hospital bills, utility bills, computer repair, and debt collection. During the call, the scammer instills panic and fear and the pressure to act immediately in the victim.

Scammers prefer payment methods that are untraceable. Older methods included Western Union or wire transfers and/or cash cards but these methods no longer work as well as consumers are wiser, recognizing these payment methods usually signal a scam.

Many scammers are turning to Apple iTunes and other gift cards to steal your money. Victims are instructed to make a payment by purchasing gift cards from the nearest retailer. Retailers include convenience stores, electronics retailers, and grocery stores. Once the gift cards are purchased, the victim is asked to pay by sharing the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the caller over the phone or by asking for a photo of the back of the card.


Tips to avoid becoming the victim of an iTunes scam

  • If you are NOT purchasing an item directly from the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or an Apple Music membership, do NOT make a payment with iTunes or any other type of gift cards.
  • Do not provide the numbers on the back of the card to someone you do not know.
  • Immediately report potential scams to your local police department as well as the FTC (www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov).


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