14 October 2020
 Acting Major R. Christopher West
 Troop G Commander

State Police in Troop G would like to remind the public to be aware as we continue to receive reports of scams involving gift cards used as payments along with other common online scams. 

In the gift card scams the victim is asked to purchase gift cards or pre-paid credit cards as payment for goods or services, or to assist an individual falsely representing themselves.  The scammer will ask for the serial number on the gift card and once they have obtained it, it is very unlikely that the transaction can be stopped before the scammer redeems the card.  If you are asked to obtain gift cards as payment, ask a friend or family member for a second opinion before purchasing or contact police.  State Police urge local businesses who sell these gift cards to also be aware and if they see a suspicious purchase, ask that person if they may be the target of a scam.   

Other common scams being reported involve people entering into online relationships (romantic or otherwise) which eventually lead to scams for money.  On October 12, 2020 State Police received a report of a victim who began a long-term online relationship with a scammer.  The victim was asked to make several wire transfers from the scammers bank account to other accounts for his new business venture.  After several transfers the scammer advised that his bank account had been frozen for suspicious activity and asked the victim to transfer their own money to him so he could continue his business transactions until the account was no longer frozen.  In the course of this scam the victim lost approximately $170,000.

On October 5 State Police received a report of a victim who had been contacted by a person claiming to be from Apple and saying that their computer had been compromised.  The victim then allowed the person remote access onto their computer to fix the problem.  Once access was granted to their computer, the scammer was able to gain entry to the victim’s bank accounts and transfer money.  This victim was then targeted for additional scams involving purchasing gift cards and making wire transfers.  Because this victim reported the scam quickly, investigators were able to stop one of the wire transfers and prevent $25,000 from being lost.        

If you believe you may be the victim of a scam, please contact the New York State Police or local law enforcement immediately.  If you suspect you are a victim it is important to remember that these cases are time sensitive and the sooner you report, the better chance police have of trying to recover funds.

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