Tip of the Week - November 2, 2017 - Be Aware of Scam Seeking Gift Card Payment for Utility & Other Bills


In this day of convenience and easy bill payment methods, some consumers are being tricked into parting with their hard-earned cash by crafty scammers on the phone who call on the consumer to pay utility, tax, hospital, or debt collection bills over the phone by way of credit or gift card.

“The person on the phone can be demanding, intimidating, and insisting the consumer must act now,” said CSLEA Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman.  “This works on senior citizens and those who speak little English.  We must educate elderly consumers and those who speak a language other than English to be very suspicious of those who call them and request credit card numbers, social security numbers, or gift card numbers.”

Currently the Santa Clara Police Department is seeing an upswing in a string of scams urging consumers to pay their utility bills in this fashion. The scammers are urging their potential victims to purchase gift cards and then share the 16-digit code on the back of the card, for the scammer to use.

Don’t forget to notify your local law enforcement office if you are receiving these types of calls.