The Trail RCMP detachment is again warning social media users to steer clear of sending money transfers and/or gift card redemption codes over the internet after a local woman lost hundreds of dollars in a Facebook scam.
This advisory follows a complaint called in to the Trail RCMP the evening of Jan. 29.
Sgt. Mike Wicentowich says the woman, 61, reported she was defrauded of $700 in a Facebook scam involving the purchase of gift cards. How this con works is the fraudster contacts their intended victim claiming to be a friend in need. The perpetrator is banking on their targets having big hearts and wanting to help their friends.
“The woman had received a request from a friend to purchase $700 in gift cards,” Wicentowich explains. “The woman obtained the gift cards and sent electronic photographs which contained the redemption codes.”
Afterwards, the woman learned the account had been hacked and the “friend” was actually an unknown person perpetrating a fraud, he warns.
“Gift cards are not traceable and resulted in the loss of $700 to the victim.”
Wicentowich stresses, “Do not send electronic money transfers or gift card redemption codes to anyone over the internet, social media, or phone unless you are absolutely sure it is legitimate and you are dealing with the person you think you are.”
Social media is not a secure or trustworthy form of communication, and for this reason, digital thieves target social media accounts.
“They want gift cards and electronic money transfers because they are untraceable,” the sergeant says. “If someone is asking you for an electronic money transfer or gift card over social media, please take that as a signal to be cautious and conduct your due diligence.”
Once the money is sent, it is gone forever.
Victims of social media fraud are encouraged to call and report it to the Trail RCMP detachment at 250.364.2566.