Learn the Red Flags – The GIFT CARD Scam’s Hook:
Scammers deploy several techniques to get consumers to buy gift cards.
Watch for the red flags:
Do Not Respond to Unsolicited Requests to Buy Gift Cards
Scammers typically ask a targeted consumer to buy gift cards for one fake reason or another, including some that will seem compelling and hard to resist. The requests come from many sources including email, texts, mail, and phone. An unsolicited request to you to buy gift cards is a red flag.
Do Not Buy Gift Cards for Anyone Other than Yourself
Scammers commonly ask a targeted consumer to buy gift cards for use by others for one or more fake reasons. Consumers should only buy cards for their own use. Requests by others for you to use your own money to buy gift cards for use by others is a red flag.
Do Not Use Your Own Money
Scammers ask consumers to advance or use their own money to buy gift cards for one fake reason or another. The need to use your money is a ruse. A request by others for you to use your money to buy gift cards is a red flag.
Do Not Buy Gift Cards to Make Payments
Scammers commonly ask consumers to buy gift cards for use to make payments to businesses, government agencies or others. Gift cards typically are usable only to buy goods and services at the retailers or places designated on the cards. They are not for use to make other forms of payments to businesses, government entities or others. Legitimate businesses do not ask for their invoices to be paid by delivering gift cards. No government agency asks for or wants payment by delivery of gift cards. Buying gift cards to make payments is a red flag.
Do Not Buy Gift Cards to Address Emergencies
Scammers often ask consumers to buy gift cards to help address emergencies including emergencies that will appear compelling. Purchasing gift cards to assist with emergencies is a red flag.
Do Not Deal With People You Do Not Know
When they show, scammers can be people you do not know. A stranger asking you to buy gift cards is a red flag.
Do Not Drop Your Guard Regarding People You Do Know
Scammers like to impersonate someone you do know such as a boss, relative, friend, vendor, community leader, church member, and others. They do so in emails, texts, letters, and other forms of communication. People (including those you know) do not ask their friends, relatives, or others to use their own money to buy and deliver gift cards for one cause or another. Such requests should be viewed as a red flag.