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Posted on: August 10, 2019

Scam Alert - Verify Requests from Known Community Members

Scam Alert

Don't be fooled...Scammers often use data mining and other techniques to find out information about the areas that they are trying to scam.  By doing this, they can get information that allows them to make it look like they are sending information and requests from people you may know in the area.  For example, residents have reported receiving text and email requests from City officials that were not actually sent by them.

Most recently, members of the Good Shepard Church received text messages coming from a 602 area code purporting to be a specific, known pastor of the church.  When one of recipients replied to the message, the scammer on the other end, replied, again pretending to be the pastor, and requested that the member go to the store and purchase eBay gift cards for a friend of the pastor who was in the hospital.  Fortunately, the recipient found this suspicious and took the time to call the pastor directly and was able to confirm that the request was not legitimate.

This is a good reminder to think critically about requests that you may receive via phone, text, or email.  If you receive requests that seem to be from random phone numbers or email addresses or the requests made don't make sense based on your relationship with the person making the request, take the time to verify the request through other means or other known contact information.   

A common theme to these scams is that the scammers will ask you to go to the store and buy various gift cards and then contact them with the gift card numbers after purchase since they can use the codes and don't need the physical cards.  In many cases, the gift cards requested will not make sense for the purpose, such as iTunes gift cards to pay for a family member to be released from jail or to satisfy a claimed tax debt.

If you suspect a scam, verify by other means, report it to the police department if you would like help determining if it is a scam, or simply ignore the requests and/or block the number/email.

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