Gift, holiday card scams active in the Capital Region

Beware of popular scams

The holiday season can be a hectic time. Many of us are going through our long to-do lists. But it's a busy season for scammers, too.

A sweet 8-year-old girl in Colonie proudly put a stack of birthday thank you cards in her mailbox to go out, and put up the flag.

Carey’s Ring video showed someone drove up at night, stole all the cards, and drove off.

“That little red flag that tells the mailman you have mail. It also tells the scammers there’s mail,” according to Tina Pickup, First Vice President of Security and Fraud Investigations for Berkshire Bank.

Pickup urged people to go directly to the post office to send out mail. This time of year especially, criminals are looking for gifts in cards, she warned.

“They look for checks, and the thing is, these checks that they’re taking, if they were just cashing the check, it’s bad enough. But what they’re doing is they’re taking that information off that check and selling it on the dark web.”

NewsChannel 13 viewers have told us they’ve also been victimized by another scam we’ve reported on before: a new twist to the gift card scam.

“The scammers are actually going into the stores, taking the gift cards off the rack, scanning the information off the back of them and then putting them back on the rack, so that when you buy that gift card, and you put your money on it, the scammers got the money. And so you give that gift card, and it’s now empty because the scammers already took the money.”

Pickup suggests buying gift cards online, instead.

People are also getting texts from what looks like their bank about big, suspicious purchases.

Pickup said never click on the link. If you’re concerned, go directly to the website or bank.

“And if a bank or a financial institution calls you, they will never ask for your username and password. That’s the number one rule. If they ask for your username and password, it is a scammer.”