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February 21, 2014

Local woman warns of gift card grift

— A gift card scam reminded one Chickasha resident that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

"It bothers me that I fell for it," Flora Frasure, a retired telephone operator said.

Frasure received a postcard saying that she had an unclaimed reward for a $100 Walmart or Target. Frasure called the number on the card. The person on the phone asked for her credit card number, saying that it would cost $1 for Frasure to claim her prize.

Frasure was given a confirmation number as well as a number to call to cancel if she changed her mind. The post card had no return address and Frasure could not get a clear answer about the location of the company where the offer was allegedly coming from.

Frasure said that she kept getting transferred to different lines, talking to different people who asked for more money to send $20 certificates to Frasure. The people on the phone said these would arrive in two to three weeks, Frasure said.

"Each had their own thing going."

Frasure got a sinking feeling after she hung up the phone. She quickly followed up on the offer with Walmart, who confirmed what Frasure had suspected.

Frasure cancelled her credit card immediately and reported the incident to Chickasha Police.

According to Assistant Police Chief, Elip Moore, Frasure did the right thing by contacting the credit card company and canceling her card right away.

"Do not wait," Moore said. "Those who conduct these kinds of scams will try repeatedly to get money from the victim's account, so the best thing may be to cancel the card."

Moore said that in this case, the scam included a confirmation number as well as a number to call and cancel which could make the scam seem more legitimate. Adding these kinds of details help to make the scam more believable, Moore said.

"It clouds the thought process," he said.

Alarm bells should go off when a business asks for a credit card number or routing number in exchange for a prize. Potential victims should ask for a name and telephone number and then find a local branch to ask about the promotion, Moore said.

"Ask questions and often the story will very quickly deteriorate before your eyes," Moore said.

Victims of these scams or those that suspect an offer is a scam should contact local law enforcement. A police officer can help direct the victim or potential victim to the proper course of action.

"Generally, [the scam] is not local, so a lot of cases will go through the FBI," Moore said.

Since the incident, Frasure has been contacting other business and local media to try and get the word out in hopes that others will not become a victim.

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