Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

July 22, 2013

BUSINESS: Scam Alert: Business owners and shoppers should be on the lookout for local credit card scams

JACKSONVILLE — Fake gift cards are bad business — especially the kind that trick trusting Cherokee County residents into disclosing private financial information.

The Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas is cautioning local citizens to be on the lookout for postcards in the mail advertising credit card deals that seem too good to be true. A current scam specifically is targeting unsuspecting, vulnerable residents of the Jacksonville and Tyler areas, reports show.

A graphic illustration of a post card outlining this problem is being heavily spotlighted on social media by the Better Business Bureau.

“This postcard is circulating throughout our area,” officials announced in the graphic. “BBB reminds consumers not to provide financial information to someone who initiates contact without doing your homework.”

These $100 “gift card offers” allegedly can be redeemed at Walmart of Target. However, to gain access to the card, the customer is asked to provide a bank account number to pay a “processing fee.”

And ultimately? This gift card never arrives and money suddenly begins to be siphoned from the bank account.

Tracking the scam artists behind this problem has caused authorities some difficulty. Ultimately, the BBB is asking residents to stay safe by sticking to the moral, “don't give out personal or financial information to anyone you don't know.”

One East Texas resident notified authorities about the scam after she was unsuccessful in collecting her card about half a month ago. The woman called a listed number, “1-855-530-6886” to claim the prize.

But instead of receiving a card with store credit,  an unspecified amount of money disappeared from the woman's bank account, according to Mechele Agbayani Mills,  president of the East Texas Better Business Bureau.

“As of this morning the caller did not know how much money has been compromised in her bank account,” Mills said.

Yet another person who had a run-in with the perpetrators of this scam discussed it in detail on the online “Internet Ripoff Report.”

 “I received the postcard in the mail stating I'm eligible for the $100 Walmart gift card,” the customer wrote. “ … I was told there are no strings attached other than $6.95 to have it mailed to me. I told him I don't have any money on my card. He said that's okay, he will run it when there is money on it.”

The customer was told to answer “yes” to several automated questions, which he could not completely bring himself to do.

“I said 'no' to one recording, and this dude comes back on the phone upset with me for saying 'no' and now we have to start the recording all over again,” the customer said. “ I told him 'you guys are nuts.' He reminds me of how I want my gift card and all I have to do is be a smart customer and say yes to all the offers. So I play along and say yes to four offers.”

After awhile, the customer got tired of the repetition and hung up.

“A minute later an unknown number calls at 11 p.m.,” he said. “I ignore it while making a note to myself to crawl to my bank apologizing for being a fool and to please cancel my card and issue a new one.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also emphasizes Texas consumers stay vigilant so they can't be victimized.  Because there are a number of ways in which credit card numbers can be stolen, Abbott specifically recommends never giving one's credit card number over the phone unless you initiated the phone call.

“Legitimate companies will never call to 'verify' your credit card number,” Abbott writes.

Abbott also recommends consumers make a list of their credit cards, account numbers, and phone numbers of the card companies.

"Keep this in a safe place, separate from your cards," he advises. "If your purse or wallet is stolen, you can use this to notify your credit card companies."


Text Only
Local News
  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • HOPE event Pic 433.tif Folks attend weekend fundraiser for H.O.P.E.

    It was an evening fit for royalty, as supporters of the Helping Others Pursue Enrichment (H.O.P.E.) program gathered Saturday at The Castle on the Lake outside Jacksonville for “A Renaissance Evening.”

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church Member looks.tif Church of Wells members attend protest

    About 30 members of the Church of Wells arrived at a protest Saturday. The event was planned after an incident at Wells Homecoming Day on April 5 where the church loudly "street preached" causing a disruption. Three of the church members were injured by two men at the parade. On Saturday, the event was peaceful, despite a few loud voices.

    See the complete story and photos in the next edition of the Daily Progress on Tuesday, April 15.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • ScholarshipAwards.tif 5 receive scholarships from Chamber’s Agri-Business Committee

    The Agri-Business Committee of the Jacksonville Chamber recently awarded five $1,000 scholarships at the Annual Cherokee County Junior Livestock Show on March 29.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deadline to file taxes nears

    As an April 15 deadline for individuals to file their 2013 federal tax return approaches, pressure is mounting for tax preparers.

    April 11, 2014

  • Protest, march planned in Wells

    The town of Wells is planning a march to the R&R Mercantile on U.S. Hwy. 69 from the former Dairy Queen to protest the Church of Wells.
    The event is planned for 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

    April 11, 2014

  • Court date set for JP hearing

    A court date has been reset to April 28 for a hearing of a petition by a local primary candidate in an upcoming Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace race.

    April 11, 2014

  • Luncheon to include update on Lake Columbia

    Updates on the proposed Lake Columbia will be the topic at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  
    Kelly Holcomb, general manager for Angelina Neches River Authority, will provide updated information on the proposed Lake Columbia between Jackson-ville and New Summerfield.

    April 11, 2014

Election 2012
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide