Thieves are targeting seniors in a gift card scam. (Black Press file photo)

Thieves are targeting seniors in a gift card scam. (Black Press file photo)

North Okanagan seniors scooped by scam

Several elderly residents have tried to purchase large amounts of gift cards for scam

A potential scam artist has gotten a few locals in their grips, but some Good Samaritans are hoping to break them free.

Staff at Vernon’s Safeway and Freshco stores have turned away at least three seniors who have come in wanting to buy between $2,000-4,000 in gift cards.

“Vernon’s elders are being targeted for gift card scams,” said Allison Toki, who has made a public plea to help others educate the seniors in their lives.

Using cash, at least one senior has been told this is a scam but he is insistent it is not.

“Please talk to the elders in your life. Tell them to call you immediately if someone calls or sends a letter asking for gift cards to pay anything,” Toki urges.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP agree that discussing the matter with a family member or trusted friend is important.

“Never rush into a decision because someone is pressuring you,” Const. Chris Terleski said.

Scams and frauds tend to follow some basic principles, and identifying these key indicators will help you recognize you are a target of a scam so you can take action to protect yourself.

Warning signs you may be the target of a scam:

• Scammers pretend to be from an organization or a customer you know to avoid suspicion;

• Scammers present a problem or a prize as a lure to gain and keep your attention;

• Scammers pressure you to act immediately;

• Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way allowing them to collect their money quickly and without trace.

Tips to protect yourself:

• Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

• No matter who you think is calling, never give out personal information over the phone.

• Never pay a debt by crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others.

• If someone contacts you alleging to be from a company, hang up and contact the company yourself to verify the information.

• If you didn’t make the call, you don’t know who you are talking to.

“Remember, it’s not a crime to hang up the phone,” Terleski said.

READ MORE: Graffiti painted over Vernon museum entrance

READ MORE: Days after devastating blaze, Spallumcheen lumber yard restarts production


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CrimeRCMPSeniors

Just Posted

A concept rendering of the proposed seven-unit, two-storey development at 1129 Riverside Ave. in Sicamous. (District of Sicamous graphic)
Proposed luxury development in Sicamous sparks parking concerns

Seven-unit commercial-residential building planned for Riverside Avenue

The Shaw Centre and the SASCU Recreation Centre are the two largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions on City of Salmon Arm properties. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
City of Salmon staff surprised COVID not cause of drop in greenhouse gas emissions

2020 sees emissions on city-owned properties decrease well below 2019 totals

Shuswap Litas and Son of Stomp head out from uptown Askew’s parking lot on Thursday, June 10, some with teddy bears and stuffies, to ride to Pierre’s Point by Adams Lake community hall to show their support for band members in the wake of the confirmation of 215 children buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap bike clubs ride to support Indigenous communities

Motorcyclists go to Pierre’s Point in solidarity with bands in wake of residential school findings

Interior Health is offering mobile vaccination clinics for the first dose only of COVID-19 vaccine in the Shuswap from June 15 to June 19h. (Interior Health image)
First-dose vaccinations for COVID-19 offered via mobile clinics in Shuswap

Clinic in Salmon Arm scheduled for June 15, other clinics in Sorrento, Malakwa, Chase

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
UPDATE: Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue base splattered with what looks to be red paint, old-growth logging protest held in afternoon

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read