WINCHESTER — It’s that time of year again. As tax refunds are going out and now stimulus checks are in the mix, scammers are calling, and emailing people around the clock to try and take advantage of people. These scams tend to vary from asking for credit card numbers to Social Security numbers. Scammers give reasons such as made up bills that are overdue, claiming to be the IRS or some law enforcement agency.

However, there is a growing trend in gift card frauds. Simple gift cards that can be purchased at any store for holiday and birthdays are now being used to defraud people out of their money.

Typically someone will receive a phone call or email from a scammer claiming to be the IRS or will use say that a loved one is in jail and they need bail money, or even that they have a warrant for their arrest. Instead of asking for a credit card number the scammer will instruct the victim to purchase multiple gift cards and have them give the numbers of the gift cards over the phone or email. The victim is now out hundreds of dollars for that purchase. It is always important to remember that gift cards are exactly that, a gift. They are not a form of tender.

If you are a senior citizens and believe you have been the victim of a scam, consider reaching out to the Top of Virginia Triad via the Winchester Sheriff’s Department at 540-667-5770, email or on Facebook at

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