(MOBILE, Ala.) - It's the season for holiday get-togethers, shopping, and, unfortunately, scams. Officials warn scam artists have been very active in our area. The Better Business Bureau of South Alabama says a popular scam lately involves Walmart gift cards. There are many variations of the scam, but essentially, it boils down to you buying a card for one amount with the promise of receiving much more.
Last week, 88-year-old Charles Hazen said he received a call from someone talking about gift cards.
"He said you need to go to Walmart and buy a cash card for $500," said Hazen.
This was supposedly the first step Hazen needed to take to claim his mega millions prize. But Hazen knew better than to fall for the caller's claims.
"Never had anybody talk like these guys did. They didn't really know what they were talking about," said Hazen. "What really made me mad was they're picking on people who they can tell by my birth date that I'm 88 years old. They're picking on old people."
"Anytime someone is asking you for money to redeem money, it's usually a scam," said Stephanie Knight, Better Business Bureau of South Alabama President and CEO.
Knight says the call volume from consumers complaining about scams is on the rise, which is typical for this time of year.
"The holidays bring out a lot of scams," said Knight.
And potential victims aren't always reached by phone. Knight says she's talked to people who were targeted online. Victims who thought they were buying Walmart gift cards at rock bottom price, only to see their bank accounts raided.
"It is too bad. During this time of year, every dollar is precious. We don't want to be giving money away for scams," said Knight.
The BBB says if you're contacted by a scammer, contact the FTC, an agency that tracks scams. Click here to report a phone scam: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/report.shtml
The BBB also recommends you sign up for scam alerts through its website. Click here to sign up: http://www.bbb.org/scam-stopper/