Attorney General Warns New Yorkers of Pandemic Gift Card Scam
An alert was issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday August 13th regarding the "Boss Scam" - an attempt to get employees to purchase gift cards for a supposed work emergency. In the alert, AG James explained that this is a common text and email scam in which fraudsters pose as a consumer's employer and request gift cards due to a purported work emergency.
Due to COVID-19 safety measures, many employees are still working remotely which makes it easier to fall for this common scam. A legitimate employer will never ask you to purchase gift cards in order to pay clients or for other business purchases. I urge all New Yorkers to be on the alert for this type of fraud, and to protect themselves and their wallets by following our simple tips.
Scammers have been caught spoofing the employer's actual name, telephone number, or email address and requesting Target or other store gift cards. In her alert, AG James shared an example where the 'employer' asked for specific denominations, promised to reimburse the employee quickly, and even asked for the employee send photos after scratching off the back of the card to reveal the PIN or claim codes.
With regard to the "Boss" gift card scam, the Attorney General has provided the following tips:
- Take a pause. Scammers create a sense of urgency to prey on victims’ emotions.
- Take a second pause. A legitimate employer will not ask you to handle company business through gift card purchases.
- Verify any supposed emergency by reaching out directly to an employer at the number you know. Do not reply to the text or email sent, even if it appears to come from a known email or phone number.
Any New Yorker who feels they may have been targeted by this scam can file a complaint here, or by calling (800) 71-7755.