SAN ANTONIO — Schemers often play on your emotions, saying a loved one is in trouble, in an attempt at financial gain. They'll also pose as the federal government or law enforcement, saying you owe money or fees. The Federal Trade Commission said there are two common ways schemers ask for money.
The first is wire transfers. You will likely get a phone call, email or text with a realistic story that is alarming, asking you to send a wire transfer immediately. Know that wiring money is like sending cash and it is unlikely you can get any of it back.
Another common way schemers ask for payment is to request gift cards or cash reload cards. They will tell you to go to a store and buy them. They may even stay in contact with you as you make the purchase.
You will then be told to provide them with the card’s registration number. Schemers do not need the card itself. The numbers allow the person immediate access to the money.
Again, it would be difficult to get your cash back.
If you are asked to send money by wire transfer or gift card, stop communicating with the person immediately. Check with the loved one directly to see if they need help. Call the federal government or law enforcement at numbers listed on their websites to see if you have any fines or fees before you pay. Pay attention to how someone asks for money to help you avoid losing your cash. Know that credit cards are PayPal offer protections for consumers making them a safer way to pay.