Cybersecurity, Personal Finances

Gift cards are for gifts, NOT for payments!

According to the Federal Trade Commission, if someone calls you and demands payment with gift cards, a scammer is behind that call.  Legitimate businesses or government agencies will never insist you pay them with a gift card.  Gift cards are a leading payment method for scammers. 

What does a gift card scam look like?

You receive a phone call or email; the caller says it is urgent.  If you don’t pay right away, something terrible with happen.  The scammer demands you purchase a gift card as payment.  They may even stay on the phone with you while you purchase the gift card. Once purchased, the scammers ask for the gift card number and PIN.  Once you provide that information, your hard-earned money is gone!

How do the scammers convince you?

Scammers pretend to be someone they are not.  Criminals are very persuasive; they want to scare or pressure you to act quickly, so quickly, you do not have time to think about the interaction or talk with a trusted known individual. 

Tips to avoid a scam

AARP reports:

  • Use gift cards only as gifts for people you know – never for payment.
  • If you receive a phone call or email from your grandchild, a relative, religious leader, business or government agency where money is requested, take the time to call them back from a known number to verify it is really them and not an impersonator.
  • Remember, legitimate businesses and government agencies will never demand payment in gift cards.

If you suspect you have fallen victim to a scam, contact us immediately.