SIDNEY -- The offer may sound good, but it may be deceiving.

Holidays are a prime time for scams as well as the celebrations.

One type of commonly-reported scam is when a person is contacted by email or some other electronic method and encouraged to buy gift cards. Sometimes the offer sounds legitimate such as helping an outreach program, or the caller represents a known agency -- falsely -- encouraging a person to support a program.

Other times, the calls are stories that play on a person's fear, such as the IRS or another agency demanding payment.

Senior citizens are often vulnerable to the pleas, says Chad Brumage of Sidney.

"They prey upon senior citizens," he said

Brumage works at a local retail store in Cheyenne County. He said he and other staff have seen gift card purchases that concern them.

"We question gift cards at the register," he said.

Unusual purchases are questioned because gift cards are virtually untraceable.

The Federal Trade Commission says "Phone scams come in many forms, but they tend to make similar promises and threats, or ask you to pay certain ways." The FTC encourages people to remember 1) no one wins the prize, 2) no one is coming to arrest you, 3) you don't need to decide at that moment, 4) only scammers demand you pay a specific way, 5) government agencies won't call to confirm personal information, and 6) you shouldn't be getting all of these calls.

The National Do Not Call Registry and robocall program are recommended to filter out most calls.