TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Sheriff Derek Osborne published a warning Tuesday morning regarding phone scams that have become more frequent in the area recently.

A note from Osborne’s office stated that local law enforcement has seen an uptick in “fraud complaints involving phone scams where the caller is requesting payment or reimbursement in the form of gift cards.”

The sheriff’s office continued on that “a legitimate business will not request payment in the form of gift cards.” As one of their tactics, callers can be intimidating or act as if the gift cards are needed urgently.

For one example: at least two people have received scam attempt e-mails or text messages this week claiming to be the executive director of The Ithaca Voice and seeking gift cards. Be particularly on the lookout for anything from an e-mail address of “” That is not our executive director’s e-mail address.

The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office noted that if someone calls and requests the call recipient to purchase gift cards to send them, it is a scam and to report it to the police.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at