March 31, 2023

Hackers are using a popular scam to get money from well-meaning victims like you, warns AARP. Known as the “do me a favor” scam, it allows malicious criminals to take as much as $1,200 or more from innocent people.

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What is a “do me a favor” scam?

Do me a favor scams happen when hackers try to pass themselves off as someone you know, such as your boss, pastor, or friend. They’ll send you an email telling you they’re very busy and need to buy a gift card for a charity or some other good cause. They’ll then ask you to buy a gift card for them, send them photos of the front and back of the gift card as soon as the purchase is complete, and promise to refund you when they have all the information. However, little do you know that you will never see that money again because that is all the information the hacker needs to scam you out of your money.

Why do scammers ask for gift cards?

Gift cards are virtually untraceable, so as long as you send a photo of the front and back of the card, scammers can download funds from the card in an instant, and there is no way to trace where the money came from. Imposters will also usually try to rush you, saying that it is urgent and they need money right now. It’s a quicker and easier way to get money out of people than trying to get their private banking information, so scammers are taking full advantage.

Here’s how to avoid troublesome “do me a favor” scams. (Kurt Knudsen)

How can I prevent this from happening to me?

There are a few precautions you can take to make sure you don’t fall for one of these scams.

Enable this GMAIL security feature ASAP

Take a close look at the email address: Often, scammers will use an email that is very similar to someone you know, and only change a letter or two. Since many of us are busy, we don’t always want to double check that email addresses are accurate, which is what scammers are hoping for. Always double-check the email addresses of people who send you messages.

Be aware if the sender is trying to rush you: If the sender is asking you for money and the language in the message is something like “this is urgent” or “I need this right now,” then it’s most likely a scam. no responseto email instead of Contact the sender by phone or in personto make sure they emailed you.


no waySharing personal or financial information with unsolicited individuals.

Consider using an alias email address like StartMail:An alias email address is a great way to stop receiving spam to your main email inbox.Our first choice is start mail, an excellent service that allows users to have multiple aliases and provides additional protection against malware and phishing scams. To learn more about upgrading your email security, go to and search for “mail” Click the magnifying glass at the top of my site.

Kurt "internet person" Knutsson shares the best email providers who can help keep your emails private and secure.

Kurt “The CyberGuy” Knutsson shares the best email providers that can help keep your email private and secure. (Kurt Knudsen)

Have you seen these scams before? We want to hear about your experience.

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