North Dakotans on lookout for ‘do me a favor’ scams
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - We all want to lend a helping hand when a loved one asks for a favor. Unfortunately, crooks like to take advantage of someone’s good nature. Now “do me a favor” scams are becoming more prevalent across the country.
Anyone can be taken advantage of by a scammer.
“The scams that are reported to the Attorney General’s office really are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection & Antitrust Division for the Attorney General of North Dakota.
“Do me a favor” scams are one way fraudsters target North Dakotans.
The “do me a favor” scam works like this: you get an email or message from someone you think you know, like your church leader, they mention they’re busy and need help transferring money to a charity or a similar cause, and to do so they ask you to purchase a gift card and send them a picture of both sides. But the email has been spoofed and only the scammer gets the money.
Fraud experts say these scams may be underreported because consumers lose smaller dollar amounts, but it still makes an impact.
“Our victims don’t figure it out until they’ve sent three or more $500 gift cards. And then it starts to seem kind of odd. Aren’t there other members of the congregation that they could be reaching out to? Why am I the one doing this? And then they realize they have been duped,” said Grossman.
The scam works because the messages look like they’re coming from a trusted source, when they aren’t. And because the scammers often ask for gift cards, they’re hard to track.
That’s why Grossman says to do your research, even if the request seems real.
“We never discourage consumers, North Dakotans, from being generous and helping others out, just be careful under the circumstances of which you’re being solicited,” said Grossman.
Grossman says to call the organization or person to verify it’s really them before ever sending gift cards or money.
If you’ve been scammed, you can file a report with the North Dakota Attorney General’s office: Consumer Complaints | Attorney General (nd.gov).
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