Gift Card season is upon us and while they make a great gift – according to the FTC – more scammers are demanding payment with a gift card than ever before – a whopping 270 percent increase since 2015. Below is some information regarding this type of scam. To read the full article, you can find it below.
Scammers Demand Gift Cards
Gift cards are for gifts, not for payments. If someone calls with urgent news or a convincing story and then pressures you to pay them by buying a gift card – stop. It’s a scam. Gift cards are the number one payment method that imposters demand. They might pose as IRS officials and say you’re in trouble for not paying taxes; or a family member with an emergency; or a public utility company threatening to shut off your water; or even a service member selling something before deployment.
Scammers like gift cards because, once they’ve got the code on the back, the money is gone and almost impossible to trace. If you paid a scammer with a gift card, tell the company that issued the card right away that the gift card was used in a scam. If you act quickly enough, the company might be able to get your money back.
Giving & Receiving Gift Cards
Buy gift cards from sources you know and trust. Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites, because the cards may be counterfeit or stolen.
Inspect a gift card before you buy it. Check that none of the protective stickers have been removed. Make sure that the codes on the back of the card haven’t been scratched off to show the PIN number. Report any damaged cards to the store selling the cards.
Keep the receipt with the gift card. Whether you’re giving or getting, try to keep the original purchase receipt, or the card’s ID number, with the gift card.
Read the terms and conditions of the gift card. Is there an expiration date? Are there fees to use the card, or for shipping and handling? Will fees be taken out every time you use the card, or after it sits unused for some period of time?
Use the card as soon as you can. It’s not unusual to misplace gift cards or forget you have them. Using them early will help you get the full value.
Treat gift cards like cash. If your card is lost or stolen, report it to the card’s issuer immediately. You might not get back the money left on the card – or you might get some, perhaps for a fee. You might need to show the receipt and the ID number on the card. Most issuers have toll-free telephone numbers you can call to report a lost or stolen card – find it on the card or online.
John J. Shirilla
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