Taking Back the ID

Beware of ‘boss gift card,’ Medicare equipment scams

Fraudsters always find new ways to rip off consumers. They’re stealing money via gift cards, back- and knee-brace schemes and your American Express credit card.

Susan Mittens was at her work desk getting ready to leave for the day when she received an email from her boss, Frank. He wrote that he was in a meeting that wouldn’t end until late evening. So, Frank asked Susan to do him a favor and pick up five $100 Amazon gift cards and bring them to work tomorrow. He said he intended to use them for gifts for his office staff, and he’d reimburse her. Frank then asked her to reply to his email giving him the numbers on the back of the gift cards after she purchased them, which she did. When Susan arrived at work the next day, she went to Frank’s office, gave him the gift cards and expected him to reimburse her. She was shocked when Frank said that he hadn’t asked her to buy them.

In this relatively simple scam, the email could purportedly come from anybody — not just a boss. The reasons for purchasing the gift cards vary, but their main purpose is to steal the identities and bilk them of cash. If a victim gives a fraudster the number (or code) on the back of a gift card, they’re giving away unrecoverable cash. [See Do your boss a favor and don’t fall for a gift card scam, Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).]

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