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CONSUMER ALERT: Unsolicited Phone Call Leads to Gift Card Scam
November 6, 2013

Media Contact:  Jerad Albracht, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – If you receive an automated phone call claiming that you can get a gift card to a major retailer for the price of a small handling fee, hang up or delete the message.  It is a scam, and you are putting your identity and finances at risk if you return the call.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) heard from a Wisconsin consumer who was upset about an unsolicited phone call that she received late on a Friday night.  In an attempt to learn more about the situation, a DATCP investigator called the number listed on the consumer’s caller ID and reached an automated message offering a $100 gift card to one of two major retailers for the price of only $1.95.  The message asked the caller to have a credit card ready and to press “2” to reach a representative.

The DATCP investigator called the number a second time and received a different message that also included the gift card offer.  When the investigator finally reached a live representative, the person would not give the name of the business, where they are located or if there was a website that could be referenced.  The representative continually ignored these questions and asked repeatedly for the investigator’s credit card information so he could “assist her with her concerns.”  When pressed again for the company name, the representative hung up.

The consumer who reported the original late night call to DATCP noted that the call showed up on her caller ID as “Go Green” and listed a 323 area code (California).  Since caller ID information can be manipulated by scammers, this information is likely to be inaccurate.  It is important to remember that the call could pop up under any name or number.

Disregard these calls if you receive them.  There is no “free” gift card, and if you turn over your credit card numbers or other personal information to the representative, you are likely to find much more than a $1.95 charge on your account.  Remember that you did not make the call to this group…they contacted you.  Do not trust their promises of a freebee and keep your personal and banking information safe.

For additional information, visit the Bureau of Consumer Protection at http://datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

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