Phone Scam / Contacting Club Officers


We received a call from a club officer about a phone scam they recently experienced. The scammer was sneaky – they went to the club’s website and grabbed the listed phone numbers of club officers, excluding the president. They texted each officer a statement similar to:

“Hello, this is <president’s name>, Are you busy? I have an idea.”

“Thanks! I was thinking it would be a great idea to reward our officers with a gift certificate for all their hard work with the club. I’m pretty tied up with some tasks right now, would you mind picking up $100 VISA gift cards that we can hand out at the next meeting?”

“Let’s keep this a secret for the other officers (Jim, Bob, Jack), to surprise them.”

“To help me reimburse you back right away, please open the envelopes and grab photos of the backs of the card for me. I’ll pay you back at the meeting.”

Obviously, this is a scam, but their tactic is clever. They are using flying club language (club officers & club meeting) in their attempt to make you believe it is legit. Using fellow officers’ names in the text makes it sound like they know everyone.

Please share this with your fellow flying buddies, family, and friends. Don’t get fooled.

Here’s how a typical gift card scam plays out:

Fraudsters contact you pretending to be someone you trust. Scammers try to gain your trust by impersonating trusted authorities — such as companies like Amazon, your bank or utility company, or even your boss. Many gift card scams happen over the phone because imposters know they can get you to stay on the line while you purchase gift cards and share the numbers and PINs.

Next, they create an urgent situation. Scammers will try to get you to act without thinking by scaring you with claims that your bank account was compromised, you’re behind on a payment, or you were scammed. They may even take the opposite approach and claim you’ve won a prize — but need to pay fees with gift cards before it can be released.

To fix the situation, the solution will be to send them money via gift cards. You’ll be asked to purchase and share the gift card number and PIN. This information is typically on the back of the card, and it gives them instant access to the money on the card. Scammers will often keep you on the phone and tell you exactly which gift cards to buy (Amazon, Target, Google Play, etc.).

The bottom line: If you’re told to pay with gift cards, it’s a scam. Legitimate companies will never demand (nor typically accept) payment via gift cards. The moment someone asks for a gift card payment, you should hang up or delete the email.

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