How to Spot Gift Cards Scams

Scammers prefer to use gift cards as payment, and they are growing in popularity yearly. Gift cards are a pre-paid amount that is loaded onto a card and can be redeemed for products and services. They can be physical or virtual. This post will teach you how to spot gift card scams and how to recognize them.

It never seems like you’ll be the one to fall for con artists’ low-cost ploys, particularly when gift cards are involved. Until you fall victim to fraud. We have to acknowledge that thousands of scams occur on a daily basis. For the scammers, it’s a numbers game.

The Federal Trade Commission claims that losses from fraud exceed $10 billion annually. More money is made by fraudsters than by certain legitimate industries. They’ve perfected a few cunning techniques to take your money away from you. Being able to recognize them is the best course of action.

Why Do Scammers Use Gift Cards?

Scammers prefer to use gift cards as payment, and they are growing in popularity yearly. Gift cards are a pre-paid amount that is loaded onto a card and can be redeemed for products and services. They can be physical or virtual.

Gift cards that are open-looped can be loaded and spent at several retailers. Usually, banks and other financial organizations distribute them. Scammers don’t typically utilize these cards.

Online scammers’ preferred payment technique is closed-looped gift cards. The victim pays a predetermined amount, which the fraudster can subsequently spend in particular stores. There are hundreds of gift cards to choose from, including ones from Walmart, Google Play, Amazon, and Xbox retailers.

Gift cards are used by con artists because they are hard to track down. Governments can track down the ultimate beneficiary of bank transfers and the majority of other payment methods. Gift cards don’t adhere to the same rigid guidelines.

They are also irreversible as a result. The money is permanently lost the moment you hand someone a gift card. Scammers frequently create fictitious profiles with various aliases to make purchases, even when the retailer has some information about the gift card holder. The amount on gift cards is typically too little for anyone to notice.

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Where Do Gift Cards Typically Get Used?

Presents, of course, is the clear response. A gift card might relieve you of the pressure of choosing what to buy a friend or relative. Stores, however, also frequently utilize them as a promotion to entice customers to buy more items. It’s also an excellent method to make up for whatever inconveniences disgruntled clients may have had to deal with.

Another effective technique to get compensated for remote online employment is using gift cards. To alleviate the burden of money transfer fees and taxes, legitimate surveys offering gift cards, for instance, pay money in this manner. Everyone wins in this scenario. The platform doesn’t have to worry about accepting payments from around the world, and users earn money that they can spend in actual stores.

However, this differs from internet scams in that you will be required to pay for the gift cards rather than getting them. Purchasing gift cards is only appropriate when done for yourself, your friends, or a member of your staff.

How Do Gift Card Scams Work?

Gift cards involved in one begin with the first contact, just like any fraud. It might be an email, text message, or social media exchange. Usually, the second step entails seducing the victim to gain their trust, and the third step is figuring out how to make a financial request.

Depending on the kind of scam, the specific reason the con artist seeks for your money will vary. It’s usually the point with the most evident warning signs because the con artist will have to explain not only why he’s requesting money but also why gift cards are the preferred form of payment over other options.

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Tech Support Frauds

This scam’s most popular iteration begins with a straightforward phone call. Usually, someone impersonates a representative of a major tech business, like Apple or Microsoft. Then he’ll inform you that you need remote access since there’s a problem with your computer.

Now, occasionally the victim’s computer already has a virus or other malicious software on it. In that case, remote access is not required. The con artist only needs to ask for money right away. In other instances, remote access causes unfounded issues.

To provide the impression that there are issues, it could entail installing hardware or altering some operating system settings. He will then demand payment to remedy problems and take control of your computer until it is done.

Romance Scams

These kind of scams typically take place on social media and dating websites. Scammers search for susceptible targets and attempt to communicate with them in an attempt to obtain money.

For the con artist, developing a romantic bond with the victim is the most important step. Sometimes, victims are tricked into believing there is a real person with a romantic interest through video chats with actual models.

The con artist will eventually start requesting money from the victim. Usually, it’s a fictitious emergency of some kind or a rich business opportunity that demands money in full up front.

Here, gift cards are widely utilized as an excuse for people to foot the bill for their romantic partner. Occasionally, it is explicitly mentioned that the purpose is to evade taxes or bank charges.

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Scams Involving Lottery Prizes

Most of these scams propagate via spam emails. A victim receives word that he has won something, but he has to pay a few expenses before he can claim it. Because it capitalizes on the psychological desire to acquire something that everyone possesses, this swindle is successful.

Scammers create a sense of urgency by implying that you won’t obtain your gains if you don’t make a payment on time, in order to increase their effectiveness. These scammers often demand that you purchase gift cards in order to enter.

In summary

Although gift cards aren’t the only payment method utilized by con artists, their irreversibility and anonymity make them an excellent choice when trying to defraud victims of their money. You’ll be more resistant to gift card frauds if you know what they are and how they operate.


Maverick is a tech enthusiast with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Chemistry, combines his passion for technology and gaming to create engaging content. When not working, he enjoys playing video games and listening to music for inspiration.

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