Active Scam Trends

Fraudsters are crafty and devious. They know just what to say in their scheme to make their con successful and cheat their target out of their hard-earned money. TCM Bank’s fraud team has seen an uptick in fraud inquiries, including those from bank partners asking to declare activity as valid when they are red flags for suspected scam activity. Below are some active scam trends we are seeing:

  • Sweetheart scams are when the cardholder believes they are in a relationship with someone that they have not met or do not know. They are told by the person that they are in trouble and have lost their wallet or are unable to access their funds. They then ask the cardholder to purchase gift cards for them and give them the number off of the back of the gift cards.

  • Amazon scams are when the cardholder receives an email or a phone call from someone claiming to be an Amazon representative stating that the victim owes a large balance and Amazon is going to charge their credit card if they don’t pay the funds first. The scammer then asks them to purchase gift cards.

  • Government impersonation is when the cardholder receives a call from someone claiming that they are from social security administration or another government office (DEA impersonation is a common one right now). The scammer might threaten that they will freeze their accounts, tarnish their reputation, or lose their medical license if they don’t buy gift cards.

  • Family member trouble is when the scammer may say the cardholder has a family member in trouble or in jail and the scammer needs gift cards to bond the family member out. 

One free tool that can be used to help combat scams is This site is a reverse phone directory that allows the user to search phone numbers. This tool can be utilized to verify who is calling and owns that phone number. If the legal owner of the phone number doesn’t match the name of who is calling, this could be a red flag that this may be a scam.

The number of scams and their complexity is endless. Other types of gift card scams can be found at While scams are unfortunate, the cardholder is liable for any transaction conducted as the result of a scam since they participated in the purchase and sent the goods or information to the scammer. True fraud, which is when the cardholder is not liable, is when the cardholder was not involved in the purchase, or did not authorize or give authorization to another individual to make the transaction on their behalf.

TCM’s bank partners can be key players in helping to identify and combat scams for our mutual cardholders. Being proactive with customers and communicating fraud tips can help prevent them from falling victim to scams.

If you have questions on fraud trends we are seeing or TCM’s procedures, please contact your Client Relations Representative. Together we can help protect our cardholders from falling prey to scams.