EMAIL SCAM INVOLVING KCSA BOARD MEMBERS
AND/OR OTHER KINGSMILL RESIDENTS
KMPD has, again, received calls and emails from residents who say they are receiving emails from KCSA board members or other Kingsmill residents asking them to purchase gift cards to support a charity. The content of the email suggests that the KCSA board member or Kingsmill resident is out of town and needs the email recipient to purchase gift cards in his or her absence, promising reimbursement when he or she returns.
The highlighted areas in the email below show that the email address is NOT the true email address of the sender. While his name is the same, the email address was created by the scammer. It is a temporary email address that is likely to be abandoned quickly. Also highlighted is the plea for assistance in buying gift cards; something that neither KCSA nor a KCSA representative would ask of anyone. Often, the language is not similar to language the person might use. See the bolded passages in the email below where the language speaks to a "personal duty".
From: John Hudson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 1:05 PM
Subject: Hi Dave
Are you available to assist? I'm out of the State now and I need you to take care of this on behalf of the Association.
"Kingsmill Community Services Association" needs some gift cards for donation to Veterans at Hospice and Palliative care units for preventive items from Corona Disease (COVID 19).
I have decided to make it a personal duty. I will be responsible for the reimbursement. Kindly confirm if you can help out.
KCSA will never ask you to purchase gift cards through a personal email. If a program is sponsored by KCSA, it will be advertised in the KM Bulletin or through a KCSA Constant Contact email, such as this one from KMPD. In the email above, the person sending this email is looking for you to email "John" by hitting the "reply" icon. This will send an email to the sender's email address, not the person to whom you believe you are emailing (John). You'll be advised to take a picture of the gift card (front and back) and provide the PIN for the gift card. If you are EVER asked to pay or provide anyone with gift cards, it is likely to be a scam. Contact the person who emailed you, using the contact information you typically use, if you believe it the email might actually be legitimate.
The FTC says that the general rule of thumb is, “if anyone tells you to pay by gift card, or by wiring money – for any reason – that’s a sure sign of a scam. “
This scam works because it has a convincing story, and the sender is typically someone you know or is important to you in some way. In the case above, many of you know John to be the KCSA President, and many of you are friends with the John and his wife. Fortunately, many of you recognized this email to be a scam and contacted KMPD and John directly.
This scam doesn't work because John's email address is different from the sender's. In addition, John and KCSA are not going to email you directly asking for this kind of assistance. There are many KCSA staff members who could get these gift cards for this cause if it were legitimate. If there's something that just doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. Always verify before taking any action!
The logic behind the scam is that most people will do their best to help someone in need, especially a friend or an important person in one's life. They appeal to your senses and make the story convincing leaving the only solution to assist being the purchase of the gift cards. The victim will take the bait, buy the gift card, send the photos along with the PIN, and within minutes, the gift cards are redeemed. Gift card funds cannot be traced, so there's no way to get one's money returned.
PLEASE don't become a victim. Don't fall for this scam or any scam like it. See the links below to learn more about scams and how to protect you from becoming a victim.