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More seniors falling victim to gift card scams online, over the phone

Experts say that more seniors are falling victim to phone scams involving their bank accounts, gift cards, and more.

The scammers request money or gift cards, and pose as someone they may know. Worse yet, in some cases they suggest that the individual being scammed could face legitimate consequences- legal or otherwise.

Of course, this is not the case.

But Dan Lyons, the Fraud and Scams Program Manager at Lifespan tells 13WHAM that in just the last three months- he’s seen seniors lose staggering amounts. “I’m seeing losses in the four, five and six-digit range. I’ve seen a couple people who have lost six figures,” he said.

It’s a process that often starts on Facebook or other social media platforms.

“The scammer will groom these people over a period of time where they actually call this victim over and over and over,” Lyon explained.

It’s a process that starts small and grows over time.

“Go to Wegmans, buy three gift cards not to raise red flags. Now go to Walmart and buy two more there. Now go into CVS. I want you to buy two more there. By the time this is all said and done this person has spent $3,000 on gift cards,” Lyon told 13WHAM.

It’s an insidious crime that has become more sophisticated during the pandemic. With people- particularly seniors- more isolated- more have been falling victim.

Knowledge is powerful. Lyon says the more people who know about these scams- the less opportunity scammers will have to take advantage of them.

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