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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.

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Phone Scammer Says He’s Darien Police Officer, Hangs Up When Potential Victim Challenges His Claims

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Darien police said a Barringer Road resident told them on Nov. 22 that she was called by someone claiming to be town police Lt. TJ Whyte, who told her there was an active warrant for her arrest for failing to appear in court — but when she challenged that statement, the caller hung up. The caller wasn’t Whyte. Soon after the woman’s report, police issued an announcement telling the public that calls to area residents were being made by thieves purporting to be Darien police officers or officers of other departments in the area. The purpose is to get the victim to pay “bond fees” with gift cards, voucher cards or money transfers to the thieves.

Darien Police Department

New Phone Scam Uses Darien Police Officers’ Names: Don’t Contribute Over the Phone

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The Darien Police Department would like to warn area residents about a sophisticated phone scam that is targeting victims not only in Darien, but in neighboring towns. — an announcement from Darien Police Department
Potential victims have recently received phone calls from suspects identifying themselves using actual names of Darien police officers. In the most recent version of this scam, the suspect informs the victim that they have missed a court appearance and must purchase gift/voucher cards or conduct wire transfers in order to pay “bond” fees. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are often threatened with arrest and the caller may become hostile and insulting. Residents should also be warned that these scams can be so complex, that the suspects have set up legitimate sounding voicemail greeting messages in the event you hang up and call back.

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Porn Blackmail Scam Costs Darien Resident $10,500

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A Darien resident got a call from someone claiming to be “Jack” from Apple support, who said child pornography had been downloaded on the victim’s computer. “Jack” wanted money to fix the problem, and the victim eventually paid out $10,500, Darien police said. The Brookside Road resident told police on Monday, Nov. 4 that the call was received previous Saturday, and “Jack” said he could fix the problem with the victim’s home IP if the victim bought pre-paid gift cards for various stores and sent the codes to the caller. The victim bought:

—$5,000 in Game Stop Gift Cards from Stop and Shops in Darien and Norwalk

—$2,000 in Game Stop Gift Cards from Whole Foods in Darien

—$2,000 in Target Gift Cards from Target in Stamford

—$1,500 in Game Stop gift cards from the Home Depot in Norwalk.