There have been recent reports in the media about scammers targeting supporters of religious institutions, including Jewish congregants.
The Federal Trade Commission is aware of these scams and has offered the following information and tips:
- Be aware that scammers can pretend to be a rabbi or other person you know. They may ask worshipers for gift card contributions for a worthy cause.
- Appeals can be by emails, texts and phone calls.
- The bogus emails often include the name of the local religious leader and a legitimate looking email address.
- The imposter may ask you to buy a popular gift card — frequently, iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon — and then asks for the gift card number and PIN on the back of the card. Those numbers let the scammer immediately get the money you loaded onto the card, according to the FTC. And once that’s done, the scammer and your money are gone, usually without a trace.
- If you or someone you know paid a scammer with a gift card, report it as soon as possible. The FTC urges you to call the card company and tell them the gift card was used in a scam. You can tell the FTC about it at Ftc.gov/Complaint. Your reports may help law enforcement agencies launch investigations that could stop imposters and other fraudsters in their tracks, according to the FTC.