Readers should be wary of ‘gift card scam’

Fraud emails claim you owe money to major company, can pay with gift cards

While the internet and email have both made the world a smaller place, there’s another thing they’ve made easier than ever: fraud.

A concerned reader of the Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer brought in a questionable email she received this week.

The email claimed to come from online retail giant Amazon, and pretended to be a notice from the company notifying the Pipestone flyer reader she’d had her Amazon account used for a $200 purchase. The email stated the reader only needed to click a link to clear up the issue.

Coincidentally, the editor of The Pipestone Flyer also received this fraudulent message in his company email (stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca) this very week, despite the fact the editor doesn’t even have an Amazon account.

Additionally, this past week the editor also received fraudulent emails pretending to be from Walmart (they claimed a recent Walmart online purchase was rejected despite the fact no such purchase was made) and one from LinkedIn (the editor doesn’t belong to LinkedIn). Some of the fraud emails claim you owe the company money.

Generally speaking, these types of fraudulent emails are a form of “phishing,” where the thief will send out hundreds to thousands of emails to people like the Pipestone Flyer’s reader and editor pretending to represent a legitimate company. The link in the email goes to a website that’s designed to either infect your computer with malicious software or steal your personal banking information (or both).

How online thieves manage to obtain legitimate email addresses is a matter of great debate. However, there are a few things readers can do to protect themselves.

Check the email address of the organization which contacted you. If, for example, it’s a credit card company, the address should have the company’s name it in, not just a long list of z’s and numbers or a person’s individual name (the email dropped off here had the contact address of Nathalie.louis@hotmail.com, Amazon representatives won’t use a web-based hotmail address).

Second, emails from legitimate companies won’t have elementary school spelling errors in them. For example, the message submitted by our reader stated, “If you did not make these Purchase.” Amazon won’t have a grammatical error like that in their correspondence.

Lastly, no major company like Amazon or Walmart will ask you to pay them with gift cards. That request right there should set off alarm bells.

Any Pipestone Flyer readers who receive questionable emails or letters like those above should simply delete them or throw them in the trash.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

Just Posted

Rural crime task force results released at Agri-Trade luncheon

Report cites problems with police not being able to keep up with crime and justice system issues

PHOTO: Ponoka’s St. Augustine JV girls win volleyball league

The team had a great finals winning in two sets in Ponoka

Ponoka’s annual holiday gala, fundraiser just days away

2018 Festival of Trees in support of operations at the Ponoka hospital set for Nov. 15 to 17

Ponoka’s senior Broncs lost a tough consolation to Wetaskiwin

Penalties and errors in play affected Ponoka, which ended up deflating the team’s momentum

Woman in theft of CN truck from Ponoka pleads guilty

Sentencing not set as the woman heads into intensive one year drug treatment program

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Bells of Peace toll 100 times in Castor

Commemorates the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War

Most Read