PHOENIX — It might happen with a phone call or maybe an email. It's someone promising a better deal, or a good job, or something for sale you can't find anywhere else. And before you realize it, you're out thousands of dollars.
Our Let Joe Know team hears from hundreds of people each week, and we want to warn you about three of the biggest scams going on right now.
The third biggest scam we're seeing right now involves used gift cards. I've seen a few complaints about them.
Darlene let me know she bought seven $100 gift cards but says when she started using them, "they've already been activated and used by scammers."
James emailed that he bought a Walmart gift card and "used it one time" but says when he tried using the rest, it was gone. It showed a zero balance.
Neither James nor Darlene could get their money back.
We are seeing a lot of similar complaints. I say, do not buy gift cards from store racks. Instead, buy them online, or better yet, buy an e-card and send it electronically.
The second biggest scam we're seeing now has to do with fake sales on Facebook.
Linda let me know she found a puppy for sale and sent $400 through the payment app Zelle.
Jeff also used Zelle to transfer $200 for a Yorkie puppy.
Robert saw a Westinghouse generator for sale and sent $500 through CashApp.
All were advertised on Facebook. None of them were delivered. All lost their money.
I see two big lessons here:
- Never send money upfront to individuals you don't know for things you haven't seen in person.
- Using a payment app means sending cash. Don't do it unless you're positive where your money is really going. From what I've seen, banks are not backing up the apps and not giving money back.
And the number one biggest scam we're seeing involves fake car wrap ads.
Feliz let me know that a well-known company offered his son "$500 for four weeks if he put a decal on his car."
Richard emailed that he got paperwork about wrapping his car in an ad and he got a $4,950 check with a real business name on it.
Richard was told to keep $1,000 and send the rest of the money back.
Anytime you get a big check and have to send money back, it's a big scam. You'll send your good money and only later find their check is fake.
Legit car wrap businesses don't reach out blindly, send checks and ask for any money back.
What scams are you seeing? Tell me about them: email@example.com