Gift cards are a common and convenient way to give someone a gift. They are also one of the common ways that scammers use to steal your money. That’s because gift cards are like cash – if you buy a gift card and someone uses it, you can’t get your money back. Gift valentines are for giving gifts, not for making payments. Anyone who demands a gift card payment from you is always a scammer.
Several different types of imposters ask for gift card payments. Someone might call you and say that you speak for the IRS and collect back taxes or penalties. Someone else might call who says they are doing it on behalf of a technical support service asking for money to repair their computer. Or it could even be someone who says they are a family member who has an emergency and needs money right away.
But they all have approximately in common. An urgent need for you to send them money right away. Sometimes, imposters will ask you to transfer money to them. But they are often telling people to put money on a gift card. Next, the caller will often tell you to buy a gift card from the best-known brands.Usually iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon.
The caller will ask you to get the card at a particular store near you – often at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, or CVS. They may even want you to buy multiple cards at various stores. Sometimes the caller will wait on the phone while you go to the store. After you purchase the card. That person will require the number and PIN code on the back of the gift card. These numbers allow you to get the money you loaded onto the card immediately. Once they have done so,the scammers and your money disappear. Usually without leaving a trace.
Also read:What is Trust Story? And its Characteristics.
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Here are Other Kinds of Scammers
Phone callers pretending to work for a utility company and telling you to pay your bill with a gift card or your electricity or water will be cut off.
Sellers who participate in auction websites ask for gift cards to “buy” expensive items such as cars, motorcycles, boats, motor homes, tractors, and electronics.
Someone was posing as a military service member to gain your sympathy who says they have to sell something quickly before they deploy it to their commission and that they need you to pay them with a gift card.
People who call on the phone and tell you that you won a supposed prize from a drawing that you probably never entered, but that you first have to use a gift card to pay for fees and other expenses.
Someone was buying something from you, probably online, sending you a check for more than the purchase price and asking you to give him the difference with a gift card. w
Each one of these things is scams. If a big shot tells you to pay with a gift card or money transfer, for whatever reason, it is a clear indication of fraud.
What if you Already Salaried a Scammer with a Gift Card?
If you compensated a scammer with a gift card, report it to the corporation that issued the card right away. When you contact the firm, tell them the gift card was used in a scam. Ask if the change is still on the card and if you can get your money back. If you act fast plenty, the company may be in a position to give you your money back. Know that some companies will not refund your money even if the card has been used. Remember that you have to save the gift card itself and also the card purchase receipt. Also, inform the store where you bought the gift card as soon as possible.
Below is a list of cards frequently used by scammers, along with helpful information for reporting a scam. If the card you rummage-sale is not on this list, you may be able to find the contact information for the gift card company on the card itself, or you may have to search the internet for the details. The FTC will apprise this list as new information becomes available.
Can’t find your card on this list? Look online for how to contact the card issuer. Can’t find contact information? Is the card issuer unwilling to help you? And did I lose money to a scammer? Tell your fraud story to the FTC.
How to Give and Receive Gift Cards as Gifts
Here are some steps to follow if you receive or give a gift card:
- Buy gift cards at well-known and trusted stores and sites. Avoid obtaining gift cards from online auction sites because the cards could be counterfeit or stolen.
- Inspect the card before you buy it. Check that the protective stickers are intact. Check that the codes on the back of the card have not been scratched and that the PIN is not visible. If you find doctored cards, report them to the store that sells them.
- Please keep the receipt with the gift card. Whether you give or receive a gift card, try to keep your original purchase receipt or card identification number with the card.
- Read the terms and environments of the gift card. Do you have an expiration date? Will there be a charge for using the card or for shipping and handling? Will fees be deducted each time you use the card or after it remains unused for a certain period?
- Use the card as soon as possible. It’s not uncommon to misplace gift cards or forget you had them. If you use them soon, you can take advantage of all their value.
- Treat gift cards like amounts of money. If your card is lost or whipped, report it to the card issuer immediately. You may not be able to get the money left on the card back, or you may be able to get some of the money back for a fee. To do this, you may have to show the receipt and the card identification number. Most gift card issuers have toll-free numbers for you to call to report a lost or stolen card – look up the number on the card or online.
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