Monday, May 16, 2022

What Do Scammers Do With Gift Cards

Scam : The Fake Prize

Report Gift Cards Used in a Scam | Federal Trade Commission

You might get a call, email, or text message from a scammer claiming to be with a lottery or contest. This scammer says youve won a trip, new car, or cash prize. But to claim the prize, you must first pay a redemption or claiming fee with a gift card. The scammer asks you to purchase a specific gift card, call back, and read the cards number and PIN over the phone.

This, of course, is another scam. No legitimate lottery, sweepstakes, or business will ask you to pay a fee to claim your prize. And youll never win a prize from a sweepstakes or lottery you didnt enter in the first place.

Who Are The Gift Card Scammers

Scam gangs around the world have turned to gift cards as a method of getting money from victims, including:

  • Scammers running prize/lottery scams, often from Jamaica
  • Business email compromise and romance frauds, often operating out of Nigeria
  • Government impostor and tech support fraud operations, often in India
  • Pet scammers, frequently from Cameroon
  • Gangs, often in Romania, involved in the sale of nonexistent cars and other vehicles

Additional Tips On How To Avoid Fraud When Ordering Gift Cards Online

When ordering from an online merchant, check their reputation by looking up reviews on third-party sites . This will give you valuable insight into what other customers think about them and whether or not they provide good services, products, etc.

Be careful about the wording of gift card promotions. There may be some that sound too good to be true in addition, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Make sure to read all terms and conditions thoroughly before purchasing anything online just in case there are any hidden fees involved with it or requirements for claiming them later on.

So as not to give away your identity over the phone:

  • If youre looking for a legitimate place where you can find gift cards, make sure that you do more research before handing out any sensitive information over the phone because scammers may try making you think theyre someone they arent by using a similar sounding name or saying that theyre calling from an official business number . Know who youre dealing with and try to avoid giving out information thats too private.
  • When comparing prices between different retailers, make sure to do it in person or over the phone before purchasing gift cards this will give you peace of mind knowing that what youre about to purchase is legit and backed by customer service representatives if needed.

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Why Do Scammers Want Steam Cards

The scammers often pose as agents of official agencies, such as the I.R.S., to convince their victims to comply. Victims are urged to purchase Steam Wallet Gift Cards at a retail shop in their area. … If someone contacts you to pay them in Steam Wallet Gift Cards, you are most likely targeted in a scam.

How To Get Money Back From A Gift Card Scam

Free Gift Card Scam (2021)

It can be very difficult to get money back from a gift card scam, and in many cases, it may even be impossible. Contact the store from which you purchased the card right away, but also contact the company that issued the card to see if they can do anything about your issue. Some companies will not return gift card money no matter what, but others may be more open to your plight.

One thing that will help you get money back from a gift card scam is keeping your receipt from the original purchase of the card and keeping the card itself as evidence. Receipts are important to keep and check for debt card information violations as well.

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If You Receive A Solicitation For A Free Gift Card Or Gas Card Take The Following Precautions:

  • Never give out financial information. Most reputable companies do not initiate free offers or discounts where they ask up front for sensitive personal data like credit card information.
  • Safeguard social security numbers, dates of birth, and other private information. There is no reason why a company needs your private information to provide a gift card.
  • Many scams contain misspellings and bad grammar. Also, a marketer using a website, e-mail, or other contact information that is not affiliated with the companys domain name or address can be an indication of potential fraud.
  • Be wary of solicitations from sources you do not know or that you did not initiate. Never give out personal information to an unverified source.
  • Remember that companies usually do not give away something for nothing.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Minnesota Attorney Generals Office as follows:

Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400St. Paul, MN 55101 296-3353 657-3787 627-3529

Tips To Avoid Becoming The Victim Of A Scam

  • If you are NOT purchasing an item from Apple such as from the Apple Store, iTunes Store, App Store, Apple Books, or for an Apple Music subscription or iCloud storage do NOT make a payment with an Apple Gift Card, App Store & iTunes Gift Card, or Apple Store Gift Card. There’s no other instance in which you’ll be asked to make a payment with either of these gift cards.
  • Do not provide the numbers on the back of the gift card to anyone that you don’t know.
  • Immediately report potential scams to your local police department as well as the FTC .

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What Is Gift Card Fraud

Gift card fraud can be broad and offers a number of advantages over fraud using traditional payment methods such as credit cards.

Examples include:

  • Anonymity/difficult to trace you could buy a £200 iTunes voucher from a retailer with cash and then exchange that voucher online with someone for something else.
  • Ease of laundering if you had someones stolen credit card details, you could buy a gift card and that would be difficult for the victim to get refunded.
  • Part of an account takeover when accounts are taken over, gift cards can be bought as a way to funnel credit or funds out of that account.
  • Part of an online scam gift cards might be used to convince people they have won something or there is a large amount of money due to them.

Are Retailers Giving Away Free Gift Cards

Why Do Scammers Want Gift Cards?

PENNSYLVANIA, USA I’m sure we would all love some extra money this holiday season.

And gift cards are great to give as a gift, but it’s unlikely a big company is giving you one for nothing.

On day 5 of our “12 Scams of Christmas,” why free gift cards will likely cost you your data.

I love my Kohl’s Cash as much as the next gal, but something about this email seemed off.

A free $100 dollar gift card for just opening an email? Scroll down a bit and it states you need to answer a survey.

If it’s actually from Kohl’s and I already shop there, so what’s the big deal?

Let’s just see if it is actually from the retailer. Check the sender and nope.

That’s definitely not Kohl’s.

Emails like this can trick people, especially when they phrase something like “We want to give you a free gift card for being a loyal customer during the pandemic!”

Most of the time, it’s a phishing scheme where scammers pose as a legitimate company to get your information.

And sometimes, you may even get some sort of gift card, but it will cost you in other ways.

That’s why these free gift card claims made the Better Business Bureau’s 12 Scams of Christmas.

“Nine times out of 10, it does not end up being free,” Kelsey Coleman, the director of communications at the Better Business Bureau for Metro Philly and Eastern Pennsylvania, said. “It may be an extra cost for shipping or a free trial that you’re signing up for, but if you’re not reading that fine print carefully, you may end up being charged after.”

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Filing A Gift Card Scam Lawsuit

If you have purchased an iTunes gift card from a Target store but have since discovered that the card had already been used and/or deactivated prior to you or the cards recipient using it, you may be able to join this class action lawsuit investigation and pursue compensation.

Filing a lawsuit can be a daunting prospect, so Top Class Actions has laid the groundwork or you by connecting you with an experienced attorney. Consulting an attorney can help you determine if you have a claim, navigate the complexities of litigation, and maximize your potential compensation.

Common Gift Card Scams And How To Spot Them

It often pays to look a gift horse in the mouth recognizing these types of gift card fraud will go a long way toward helping you stay safe from this growing threat not just this holiday season

Its that time of the year again, when were all online looking for presents to give and receive. Gift cards are an increasingly popular choice, which means you might well be buying or receiving them during the festive period. In fact, theyve become a huge global market projected to grow at a rapid clip over the coming years to reach a staggering US$2 trillion by 2027. Needless to say, the popularity of gift cards hasnt escaped the notice of cybercriminals and online fraudsters, whove developed a whole underground industry focused around gift cards.

Some scams will use the cards themselves as a lure to trick you into handing over sensitive personal and financial information. In other cases, the fraudsters will impersonate officials, demanding payment via gift cards. Whatever the scam, get familiar with these tactics to stay safe online this holiday season.

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A Threatening Official Demands Payment

Here, the scammers masquerade as a legitimate official from the government, a utility provider, or another organization. Theyll typically threaten their victims, perhaps by claiming theyre owed unpaid taxes or outstanding bill payment and stress the urgency of payment. This is classic social engineering designed to force the victims into hurrying their decision making.

The scam could arrive in the form of a phishing email, or text, or even a phone call . Payment is required by gift card, with the scammers usually specifying the type of card they want to be used for the payment. All of these should be red flags. As the FTC says, no real business or government will require payment via gift card.

How Do Gift Card Scams Work

These scam

Scammers mostly rely on scaring people into giving away gift cards. They usually call prospective victims and scare them using high-pressure tactics, like telling them they owe money to the IRS or are behind on their mortgage payments. Scammers use something like this and scare victims with false threats like sending them to jail if they dont pay up. By doing so, scammers force the victims to buy gift cards as a form of payment. Then, they tell the victims to send them an electronic version of the card or provide them with the gift cards number and PIN.

Some cashiers also carry out these scams by handing you inactive gift cards. Buying gift cards from online auctions and publicly displayed racks can also result in you getting scammed.

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Bbb Recommendations To Combat Gift Card Payment Fraud

  • The FTC should consider amending the Telemarketing Sales Rule to prohibit payment with gift cards.
  • The industry should continue to educate the public about the potential pitfalls of gift cards by:
  • Including warnings directly on the cards
  • Providing warnings on gift card display racks
  • Training and educating front line tellers and cashiers
  • Including a warning on screen at the point-of-sale where a victim can read it before completing the transaction
  • The industry should consider:
  • Additional efforts to limit large dollar volume gift cards and how many can be purchased in one day
  • Prohibiting the ability to purchase gift cards with other gift cards
  • Imposing a waiting period between when cards are purchased and when they can be used, at least for online purchases. Once the immediate pressure from the scammer is relieved, victims often recognize it is a scam and thus, with a bit more time, could try to stop the transaction.
  • Mining their data on gift card fraud to look for patterns and share that information with appropriate law enforcement
  • Tracking the speed and location of card redemption. This data may help spot patterns of fraud.
  • Making it a practice to provide refunds to victims who realize they are dealing with a scam after purchasing gifts cards and therefore dont give scammers the numbers from the back of the card.
  • What To Do If Youre A Victim Of A Gift Card Scam

    Unfortunately, you might not be able to recoup your lost money if you fall victim to a gift card scam. Unlike a credit card, you cannot dispute a charge, and there is no guarantee the retailer will refund or return your money even if you make a fraud complaint, Velasquez says. She recommends contacting the company you bought the gift card from to cancel the card, as well as calling the Identity Theft Resource Center to speak with an expert advisor. You should also report the theft to law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission so they can track down the scammer.

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    Scam Alert On Facebook

    Important Consumer Alert: We are aware of a small group of individuals claiming to be affiliated with Giftcards.com on Facebook. These individuals have been reaching out to Facebook users to say that they have been approved to have additional funds added to their Social Security or Supplemental Security Income card and ask the user for their credit card information.

    These individuals are not associated with Giftcards.com. Please remember that Giftcards.com will never use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your account or ask for personal information. If you are contacted by them, do not provide any personal information. You may file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant choose Scams and Rip-offs > > Imposter Scams

    Why Are Gift Cards Popular With Scammers

    How to fight back against gift card scams

    In a lot of ways, gift cards are popular with cyber-criminals for the same reason theyre popular with consumers. Theyre a near-ubiquitous store of money that can be used to buy a huge range of goods and services. More specifically:

    • Theyre easy for consumers to purchase, online or in-store
    • Most retailers and big-name brands now offer some form of gift card
    • There are fewer protections than if the buyer were using regular payment cards
    • Just like cash, once the balance on the card is gone, its gone
    • Theres no need for a scammer to provide a bank account for payment they just need the gift card PIN/code

    This has turned gift cards into a hot commodity on the cybercrime underground. In one recent case, a threat actor tried to sell a trove of 900,000 such cards with an approximate value of US$38 million on a dark web site. The cards were stolen from online discount card shop Cardpool and could be traced back to thousands of brands including AirBnB, , American Airlines, Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts, Marriott, Nike, Subway, Target and Walmart.

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    Scam : The Power Company Calls

    Youre sure youve paid your utility bills on time each month. But one day, someone claiming to be a representative from your public utility calls and says that you owe money. If you dont pay up immediately, the utility will shut off your power or water. And the only way to pay is with a gift card that the utility company representative tells you to buy.

    Again, this is a scam. The person calling isnt from the utility and will simply use your gift card information for a shopping spree. Your public utility will never call you to say that you owe money. It will instead send a letter.

    Your utility also wont threaten to shut off your power or water without first giving you plenty of warning and time to pay back what you owe.

    And utilities wont accept payment through a gift card.

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    Don’t Fall Victim To Gift Card Scams

    Have you ever been asked to make a payment using a gift card? If so, consider that request to be an immediate red flag.

    While gift cards can be a popular and convenient way to give a gift, theyre the leading payment method requested for in most consumer scams.

    The Federal Trade Commission reported consumers across the country lost $79.9 million in gift card scams in the first three quarters of 2020 alone. Bad actors focus on requesting gift cards from a variety of merchants to ensure consumers do not notice a pattern. Gift cards from Amazon, PayPal, Green Dot, eBay, Google Play, Best Buy, Home Depot and even iTunes are known to be requested by scammers, but consumers should be on high alert regardless of the merchant name.

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    Must Pay With Gift Cards

    HOW THE SCAM WORKS: A customer receives a threatening voice message from a scammer pretending to be from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. To avoid being arrested for tax evasion, the victim is told that he or she can pay the fine with iTunes gift cards or other gift cards. In a similar example, a State Trooper calls to say that the victim failed to show up for jury duty and there is warrant out for his or her arrest. To avoid going to jail, bail can be be paid using MoneyPak as a bond until the case is cleared.

    Once gift cards are purchased, the scammer will ask the victim to repeat the gift card numbers over the phoneat which time, the scammer drains the value of the gift cards. Victims who fall for the initial ploy are often told to go back to the store to buy additional gift cards.

    Quick Tips!

    1. Hang Up on Fake Callers No reputable company nor government agency will ever demand payment with gift cards. If someone claims to be from the IRS, hang up.

    2. Balance Check in Private If someone asks to listen as you call to confirm the balance of a gift card, it is likely a scam.

    3. Inspect Gift Card Packaging If the packaging looks tampered with or the PIN is revealed, turn the gift card into the cashier and pick a different card.

    4. Check the Activation Receipt Be sure the gift card number listed on the activation receipt matches the gift card you receive. Alert the manager if its not a match.

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