College Security Services Wants You to Know…

Message from Attorney General Josh Stein:

Asked to pay with a gift card? It’s a scam.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what is a scam and what isn’t. But here’s an easy one to figure out – if someone is asking you to pay using a gift card, it’s always a scam.

Gift cards are being used as part of several different scams, including IRSjury duty, and grandparent scams. When scammers ask for money or demand that you pay them, they’ll direct you to buy a set of gift cards. These gift cards can be for a range of stores or products, including Target, Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play. Then, they’ll ask you to give them the gift card number and PIN information from the back of the card. Once they have that information, they can spend your money using the gift cards.

These scammers can be incredibly difficult to track down, so if you’re asked to buy prepaid gift cards to pay for anything, don’t make the purchase. Report it to our Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online

Action 9: Scammer Uses N.C. Community College System’s Name

Someone is mailing people fake checks nationally.

The check stated it is from a precious metals dealer in California, Capital Gold Group, which is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.

The company told Action 9 it has nothing to do with the check, is aware of the scam, and has told police.

Executive Siniva Walker told Action 9 that if you’re not expecting a check from Capital — payment for something you sold the company or a refund — it’s probably fake.

The check Action 9 found was for more than $1,900.

The envelope lists the North Carolina Community Colleges as the return address. A spokeswoman told Action 9 she doesn’t know why the scammer is using the college system’s name. It put a fraud warning on its website and reported the con to U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

It looks like this scam has been going on for a few weeks. There’s no telling how many mailings are floating around or how many people fell for it.

Action 9 showed the fake check to students at Central Piedmont Community College.

While they said they wouldn’t fall for it, they’re confident others would.

“It’s easy. Because as soon people see money, they’re like, ‘Oh, I should go cash it.  It’s mine now.’ But they don’t bother to [look it over] and make sure it’s, like, legit,” Kayla Gray said.

It’s not clear how this con works. The scammer probably wants you to deposit the check, think you have the extra money and then send a portion of it — real money from your account — somewhere else.

The best advice is avoid checks like this.

If you get one and want to see if it is real, call Capital Gold Group at 800-510-9594.

If it is fake, report it to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.