SCAM ALERT: Caller asks for you to buy gift cards

SCAM ALERT: Caller asks for you to buy gift cards

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It's something many have given or received – gift cards.

However, buying one for a stranger could pose problems.

One Tucson woman reached out to Tucson News Now to share her story of how she almost got scammed because she doesn't want anyone else to fall victim.

Carmen Martinez is 67 years old and said she routinely enters sweepstakes hoping to win the big prize.

Sunday morning, she received a call from a man with a 402 area code, who said he was representing the Mega Millions Sweepstakes and Lottery Company.

"He told me I had won 2.5 million dollars," she said. "He wanted to let me know that I was also receiving a briefcase full of cash and a new car."

However to redeem her prizes, she needed to buy a $100 Amazon gift card from the store and provide him with the numbers on the back of it. That raised a red flag, especially when he got impatient.

"He started to get very belligerent," Martinez explained. The next few hours, the calling didn't stop. She counted a total of 22 calls from Sunday to Monday.

"He sounds kind of threatening to me. By being so persistent by using that kind of language with me. And asking me if I believe in God. I mean what does that matter for a sweepstakes. It makes no sense to say something like that to somebody," she explained.

Martinez felt uncomfortable and reported the harassing calls to Tucson police and the FTC. She also has plans to report what happened to the Better Business Bureau.

She shared her story with Tucson News Now Monday night, to make others aware.

"I'm probably not the only one. Since it's the holidays, you know, anybody would want to believe that they had won, you know a sweepstakes."

Amazon has this warning on its website:

"Do NOT provide the details on the back of the gift card (claim code) or codes received via email for electronic certificates to someone you do not know or trust. Once a claim code is provided to a fraudster, the funds on the card will likely be spent before you are able to contact law enforcement or Amazon."

For more information, click:

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

MOBILE USERS: Download our app to get breaking news alerts, weather forecasts, and exclusive content on your Apple and Android devices.