The bad guys are at it again. The Ulster County Sheriff's Office released earlier today (January 24, 2022) the latest scam that is attempting to separate good-meaning people from their hard-earned money.

It seems like every week we are hearing about folks who are getting their money taken by some sort of scam. Just this morning I was at the post office watching a postal clerk who was trying to determine if the customer in front of me was the victim of a scam.

Many Merchants Are Working to Prevent this Type of Scam

This past Christmas I was purchasing gift cards as gifts for friends and the amount I was purchasing resulted in the cashier calling over a manager. When the manager got to the check out they examined the cards then asked if I had been contacted by someone to purchase the cards. After I giggled which by the way was met with a stern look from the manager I collected myself and said absolutely not I was buying quicky gifts to attend an unexpected gathering with friends.

I did thank them for their concern and mentioned that I appreciated them looking out for me and others. I also explained that I giggled because I wasn't the type of person who parted with my money that easily.

3d Illustration depicting an illuminated neon sign with a scam concept.

Ulster County Sheriff's Warns of New Scam

Anyway, the latest scam that the Ulster County Sheriff is warning us about has people be contacted by a person pretending to be the pastor of their church requesting money. It is a phishing scam that uses the pastor's name as bait. The basics of the scam are that the church member receives a text from their pastor asking to make a contribution by purchasing and sending gift cards.

What to Look for if You Get a Text

It may appear to look legitimate at first but a close look will have the victim noticing the email address is from someone else. The name may look correct but is most likely missing one letter. Basically, the Ulster County District Attorney's Division of Consumers Affairs is asking everyone to be suspicious if you are asked to wire money or make a payment through any form of gift card. Be aware that once the money is sent or wired it is gone forever.

What Should You Do if You are Contacted?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests: • Don’t text back. • Don’t click on any links within the message. • Report the message to your cell phone carrier’s spam text reporting number. If you’re an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell customer, you can forward the text to 7726 (SPAM) free of charge.
Ulster County Consumer Affairs can be reached at 340-3260. (Ulster County Sheriff's Office via Facebook 1-24-2022)


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