Scam Costs Woman $6,000 In Gift Cards

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Bunnell, FL - A scam that is making its rounds online is taking advantage of those in need of income during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

And the Flagler County Sheriff's Office wants to make sure that it doesn't happen to you.

Investigators say that a woman answered an advertisement on an online marketplace that offered the ability to work from home with great pay "during a world pandemic." The woman contacted the ad poster, who went by the name of Gilbert Neil, and he provided her with the email address Gilbertneil65@hotmail.com and the phone number 401-777-7434 so she can make contact with him.

"Gilbert" claimed to be a doctor and a businessman who sells antiques on the side. He offered to pay her $500 a week to "run errands" for him but he needed her to start immediately. She was tasked with buying $6,0000 worth of Amazon gift cards, reveal the numbers and email them to him.

The woman, in turn, purchased 50 gift cards, totalling the $6,000, and sent the numbers and information to Gilbert.

Once FCSO caught wind of the scam, a deputy called the phone number that Gilbert provided. However, when the deputy identified himself, Gilbert immediately hung up the phone. The woman then got a text from Gilbert that said "I am not American."

“There were many red flags during this interaction but it is very sad that someone would prey on people during this pandemic,” Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly said. “We previously warned the community of COVID-19 scams and unfortunately we now have a victim of one."

Sheriff Staly additionally wants to warn residents to never give out any kind of personal information, never agree to pay a sum of money by way of gift cards and never agree to pay in advance for employment.

"Those are clear indications that it is likely not legitimate," Staly added.

If you suspect that you or anyone else is a victim of internet crimes, visit the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

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