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How to Avoid Problems With Buying Gift Cards: Tips From the FTC

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Gift cards are one quick way to get through your last-minute holiday shopping list. But before you give (and get) gift cards, here are a few things you need to know. — This article is from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information blog. Cristina Miranda works in the FTC Division of Consumer and Business Education. Inspect gift cards before you buy. A gift card should have all its protective stickers in place.


Man Scammed Out of $20,000 Over the Phone

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An elderly Darien man contacted through a pop-up virus in his computer received a message that instructed him to call a phone number to fix a virus in his computer, police were told on Saturday, Dec. 7. Police said:

When the man called the number, he was told his American Express card information had been compromised and, in order to prevent fraudulent use of his card, he should spend all the available credit on it by buying gift cards from Target and Walmart. The man bought a number of gift cards for a total of $20,000, then provided the suspect with the access codes on the back of the cards. Then the victim lost all that money.

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Police: Two Darien Residents Victimized on Craigslist in Unrelated Incidents

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Twice in eight days, Darien residents were scammed out of the money they sent to people purporting to be sellers on Craigslist, Darien police said. The incidents appear to be unrelated. In one case, reported to police on July 26, a woman sent $300 to someone selling concert tickets. In the other, a man sent $3,400 for first month’s rent and a security deposit. Both scammers said they came from the Washington, D.C. area.

Only Know Your Valentine Online? Meet Your Honey Before Giving Money, Don’t Let Cupid Make You Feel Stupid, Check ‘Em Out Before a Check Goes Out

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It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. You may think you spend a lot on flowers or chocolate, but losing money in a romance scam would cost you even more. Last year, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams — a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC. And, according to a new FTC Data Spotlight, reports of romance scams are on the rise. What do we mean by romance scams?