JACKSON, Tenn. — Cyber scams are on the rise, and scammers are now using the pandemic as a way to target individuals.
Director of marketing and communication for Better Business Bureau of the Midsouth, Nancy Butcher, is warning of the newest scam going around on social media.
“He was helping people during the pandemic by giving away money and in order to get the money, he needs you to pay an upfront fee, so the amount of money that you get depends on how much money you’re willing to pay upfront,” Butcher said.
Butcher says after the victim chooses the amount they want to receive, they are told to go to Walmart to purchase a Green Dot gift card to pay the fee that ends up going to the scammer.
“When you’ve done that, you contact the person who contacted you from Facebook and you give them the number on the back of that gift card,” Butcher said.
Butcher says once the scammer receives the gift card, they drain the funds and the victim is left with nothing.
Jackson resident Jeffery Douglas is no stranger to the scam, as it was attempted against him.
“If you send $150, you get $1100, if you send him a $200 gift card, you get $1700,” Douglas said. “I kind of thought that was kind of suspicious. Your company is giving it away, but I got to send you the gift card? So I reported it to Better Business Bureau as a possible scam.”
He was contacted by a person named Dustin Locklin. His bio says he lives in Santa Cruz, California, and he has photos on his profile of cash transactions he’s allegedly sent to people.
“At first, I kinda thought… I was a little suspicious, but I kinda followed through to see what would happen, and then pretty much after he said that, I kinda figured it was a scam,” Douglas said.
Butcher says scammers follow the headlines regularly.
Whatever scammers see in the news, they use it as a part of their pitch, which is why it has been easier to scam people during the pandemic.
“People think that seniors are generally the target, but we’ve seen through our yearly scam studies that young people actually fall for scams more often,” Butcher said.
She says it’s because young people have their phones in their hand more often and scammers know that, so they use social media platforms to target them.
She wants to make you aware that anyone and any age can be a target, and she says if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Butcher urges individuals to report potential scams to Better Business Bureau. She says you might think your report does not matter, but it can help you and possibly the next person.