PSP and FBI warn of ‘holiday scams’


EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Scammers don’t take the holidays off and right now many are working to steal your hard-earned money.

From gift cards to payment apps, authorities are alerting everyone of scams going on right here in our area this holiday season.

“$500, it was out of my account,” said Jennie Davis, Scranton.

Jennie Davis lives in Scranton and is one of the many who have fallen victim to scam artists, a trend more common during the holiday season.

“I got a text message on my phone saying they’re from social security,” Davis said

The first red flag: an authentic message would’ve come in the mail.

“They said there was a warrant out for my arrest. That they found a black Toyota Corolla, which I did have a long time ago, but I sold it,” Davis explained.

The fraudsters did their research, knowing just what to say to get her to give them money. So she did what they asked, put 500 dollars on an Apple gift card, and gave them the code.

“If you receive a call from an IRS agent or FBI agent, etc., saying you need to settle any sort of financial obligation via a gift card, that is 100% scam. You should hang up the phone immediately and not go through with that type of purchase,” said Supervisory FBI Agent, Patrick Duffy.

FBI Philadelphia says the two most common holiday scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes.

A non-delivery scam is when a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but never receives them.

A non-payment scam is when a seller provides promised goods or services but never gets paid in return.

Pennsylvania State Police are reminding everyone to stay vigilant about scams involving payment apps like Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App.

They say there’s currently a Zelle scam that allows people to send money to customers of other banks.

“Try to make it a point to look at your bank statement or credit card statement every day. Log into it. Make sure all of your transactions are accounted for. If you see anything that does not jive with something that you did, contact your card or bank and report it immediately,” explained Trooper Robert Urban, Pennsylvania State Police, Troop R.

So for anyone in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania thinking it can’t happen to me, remember it happened to these people.

“Don’t trust anybody. Whoever texts you, the IRS, Social Security, it’s not real,” said Davis.

If you have fallen victim to any of these scams, the FBI is asking you to report tips to their Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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