NBPD Issues Scam Alert Over ‘Hacked’ Computers

scam alert
Image courtesy of the New Braunfels Police Deparment.

New Braunfels Police Department (NBPD) today said it’s investigating two recent cases of fraud where the victims believed their computers had been hacked and were coerced into buying free gift cards to avoid legal action.

Victims were provided a phone number to call to address the hacks.

Hackers who answered the phone told the victims their banking information was used for illegal purchases and “connected” them to someone claiming to be from the FBI.

The “FBI” asked the victims to “prove” they didn’t make the illegal transactions by purchasing thousands of dollars worth of gift cards from retail stores and turning the gift cards over to hackers as a form of “payment” to avoid arrest or legal action.

NBPD said no legitimate law enforcement agency will ever demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or legal action, “detain” someone over the phone, or ask anyone to purchase anything — especially gift cards or prepaid credit cards.

Hackers frequently but not exclusively target the elderly.

“NBPD wanted to make sure the community was aware of this scam before anyone else received similar phone calls,”  police said in a statement. “If you do receive this type of call, NBPD advises that you do not reveal any personal information. Do not purchase gift cards or anything else, hang up immediately, and call our non-emergency number at 830-221-4100 to report the incident.”

There are a wide variety of phone scams.

In addition to posing as law enforcement agencies, scammers also try to pass themselves off as IRS agents, Publisher’s Clearinghouse employees, student loan agents and credit-card debt agents.

NBPD asks the public to be very wary of any phone calls they did not initiate and to be very careful about giving out any personal information over the phone, especially when the call is unsolicited.

Legitimate businesses and government organizations will never ask for payment by purchasing gift cards or temporary credit cards.

NBPD also warns against letting anyone into your home or on your property without proper identification or in marked vehicles, especially when that person shows up unannounced or unsolicited.

To learn more about common scams visit this FBI website.

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