Austin Chief of Police Dave McKichan reported this week that his department is continuing to see thefts, via scams, that are preventable.

McKichan stated that many involve asking the victim to purchase a gift card or pre-loaded credit cards at a local retailer. At times, the request may appear to come from a supervisor or co-worker who is “too busy” at the time to purchase them and wants the victim to do so. He went on to state that the scammer will then ask the victim to send them the numbers off the card either via email or over the phone. Once this occurs, the money has transferred to the criminal and it is impossible to trace or recover the funds.

Chief McKichan stated in a press release that he wants to remind the public that no reputable organization or agency will ever ask for payment via gift cards or pre-loaded credit cards.  He went on to state that jails and police departments will not accept them for bail, utility companies do not want Amazon gift card numbers for payments, and your co-worker can find time to buy their own cards for their child’s birthday party.  McKichan warned area residents not to trust any email or phone call in which anyone is asking you to purchase these cards and transfer the numbers to them.