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Asked to pay by gift card? Don’t.

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Has someone asked you to go get a gift card to pay for something? Lots of people have told us they’ve been asked to pay with gift cards – by a caller claiming to be with the IRS, or tech support, or a so-called family member in need. If you’ve gotten a call like this, you know that the caller will then demand the gift card numbers and PIN. And, poof, your money is gone.

Scammers are good at convincing people there really is an emergency, so lots of people have made the trip to the Walmart or Target or CVS to buy gift cards to send these callers. And scammers love gift cards – it’s one of their favorite ways to get your money. These cards are like giving cash – and nearly untraceable, unless you act almost immediately.

So here’s the most important thing for you to know: anyone who demands payment by gift card is always, always, always a scammer. Try this gift card buying exercise out at home – especially when anyone asks you to pay with a gift card:

Q: Should I buy an iTunes, Google Play, Steam, Kroger, Walgreens, BestBuy, Amazon, CVS, Rite Aid or ANY OTHER gift card for someone who demands payment? For any reason?

A: NO.

Gift cards are for gifts, not payments. If you’ve bought a gift card and lost money to someone who might be a scammer, tell the company who issued the card. (The contact info might be on the card, but might require some research) Call or email iTunes or Amazon or whoever it was. Tell them their card was used in a scam. If you act quickly enough, they might be able to get your money back. But – either way – it’s important that they know what happened to you. And then please tell the FTC about your loss. Your report helps us try to shut the scammers down.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Gift Card Scams


I keep getting emails about a payday loan that I dont remember back in 2012 for $500 and this company keeps sending emails that they are taking me to court unless I start making payments for $200 each payment and they said to use a google play card and I have never heard of a collection agency asking for payments using a google play card..

Some I know just got scammed - hard. ( which is why I’m googling it and found this thread)

He applied for a personal loan. Cash net.

He got an email back from CASHNETUSA and they said his “ credit score wasn’t high enough” for the loan amount he wanted, so they sent him $1698 to raise it. They deposited the money, and he was instructed to send it back to them in gift cards the next day. If he didn’t, they would report him to credit bureau

The next day they said it wasn’t raised enough after he sent the money, and they had him repeat the process.

Next thing you know, he’s sent all the money in gift cards- only to have his account negative $1698 twice! ( $3396!)

The kicker here... is that his bank ( Bank of America) wont count it as fraud because he willingly gave them permission- not once- but twice.

Some asked me to get a steam card so they could update there phone, is that a scam too?

I had met someone who asked me to file for emergency relief although he isn't military but is an Airline Transport Pilot.
I submitted the request but untold of the cost which I declined and refused.
I was asked to purchase Amazon card but i paid cash for it then today July 25, 2019 he asked me to purchase Steam Card so that he can upgrade his phone. First he said $100, 200, and I told him I can't do that mind you he's been asking me to do this and when I told him no I can't do that he said you can even do it in $50's... Per card.
These conversations took place in Hangouts...story short:
I removed my email from hangouts and closed the app....turn on my engine and drove home.
I work hard for my money..n damn if someone is going to tell me what to do.

What was the name?

I am very confused and feel humiliated! I got a phone call from a company saying they are Lending Club. Indian accent ; didn't question much. They told me that I got approved for a loan for 5,000 and they made me sign some loan agreement and do some vocal agreements (recorded line) they then told me everything was processing great but my credit was too low but they can help with that. they mentioned that in order for they to approve or some dep to approve of this loan, they need to have some proof that i can pay/ credit . they first sent 580 to my bank account then they told me to get $500 worth of google play gift cards they said that i need to pay back $500 that way it shows that i can pay it back and raise my credit score. Then, when everything was 'processing' they said im 5 points away from being approved. they repeated the same process but this time they put 1300 or so in my account. i got $1300 worth of gift absurd. then my bank returned the checks and i was left with an outstanding negative balance. which they said they are working with the bank to fix the issue. i was -$1770 and then it went down to -$477 ???? they said it will take 24hrs to 48 hrs for the bank to solve the issue, now my account is frozen. What the hell just happened??

What do I do a loan company approved me a loan but I didn’t have upfront fee they were askin for they put what they say money into my account like it’s mine and withdraw it and buy google play cards and email pictures to them and can get my loan is that a scam

there are a tons of gift cards that are made , but the most legit gift card that you can use is your own money

This almost happened to me. I accepted a request on FB. Then the compliments started happening. Then he need to borrow money for his son. I didn't have it THANK GOD. Then he was a millionaire but need $1000 for his consignment box. He pushed and pushed. So I finally said sent me the information. He said all I had to do was go buy 6 ITUNE cards in the amount of $100 each and take a picture of the back of the card and send it to him. I was having a conversation using Hangouts by google. I minute I heard ITUNES card. I deleted the Hangout application and no more contact will be made. I just feel sorry for other woman out there. Please beware woman. DO NOT ACCEPT ANY OLD REQUEST, MEN ARE CREEPERS. --- BEWARE MARTINS JAYLEN S.

My mum was convinced by a scanner to purchase STEAM cards. She brought a lump sum of cards. We were fortunate enough to find out before she gave the scratched numbers but now she has hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards that the store refuse to refund. The scammer had no problem admitting it and thought it was hilarious. Horrible human beings.

I have a man who says he is in the military in Afghanistan and wants me to go purchase him an Amazon card I told him no

I think I have the same he says hes a military in Afghanistan and has a daughter from words with friends..after a couple of conversation he asked for 100 steam gift card

My caller I’d identified the call from Apple and the 800 number they used was two digits off from the Apple Service number. They said my Mac was hacked by scammers and I needed it fixed and there would be no fee but I would have to use Google Play Cards which they would repay me within two hours. They showed me the hackers info by my allowing them into my Mac so I should buy 5b$100 Google Play Cards immediately and they would stay on my cella’s I drove back and forth to the store. We were told do not use our iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac or laptop till they fixed all and I turned over the Google Card numbers. Fortunately I thought the Google Play Card were a strange method of remedying the hack soo said I had no money till two days. We were told not to use our phones or computers or iPad till they could do the fix.we hung up realizing the scam and quickly researched the scam on our iPad...and there it was...a new scam SING FOR Google Play Cards. I reported the scam to the FCC and called to get our IP address changed and used a Malware free software to insure they didn’t download anything on to my Mac. So, when they call back on Tuesday I’ll tell them they have the wrong number and maybe give them the local Police number.

I met a guy on Grindr that send me money to buy steam cards. Is this legit?

I also am having the same issue. Please let me know if it was a scam or not.

Don't do it please! its a scam!! They put a bad check into your account, and then reverse it as soon as you buy the give cards and provide them with gift card numbers. Do like I did and call your bank to freeze all transactions IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT BUY THOSE GIFT CARDS

I was told that I won a lot of money but I have to pay for a fee in gift cards . I know this is a scam

I have a question.
Someone has recently asked me to purchase gift cards for them and send them to them while they are in another country. Rather than asking for me to purchase the cards with my own money, they have paid me. Is this still considered fraud or is it legitimate because he is using his own money to pay me to purchase the gift cards?

I think that a scammer posing as a girl from the "plenty of fish" dating app is trying to have me purchase a "steam card." I haven't done it, but i did purchase a "prepaid visa Vanilla Gift card" with a "$30 value " the scammer then asked me to take the front & back pictures of the card & asked me to scratch the back. there was nothing to scratch on the back side, just the telephone number to activate the card. activated the card & spent "$11" leaving "$19.54" remaining balance on the card. the scammer called & asked the remaining balance on the card & asked for front & back pictures of the card again. balance remains & it's possible to try & catch those scammers. they are posing as lonely women on various dating sites & others. luckily that im cautious & asking friends for advice to not purchase a "steam card." warn public about the scammers posing as lonely women or men & asking to meet with purchase of the "steam card"

What about someone claiming to be Bill O’Reilly

I have been asked to buy a steam card so that a us solider can convert it for connection so he has WiFi to talk on WhatsApp....
I have looked online, nothing is said about it being converted for connection

i was asked to buy one of these. though when i failed to do so they said they could have me PROSECUTED. it was a paypal email who said so, therefore i believed them. is this still a scam?

I almost fell victim to such a scam yesterday, 5/22/19. I had called Apple Support for help with a problem but could not get help at that time. A man saying he was calling from Apple support and gave me his phone # in case we got disconnected. He was so smooth. He said that my computer had been hacked and I needed to set up a new identity account. I should go to Walmart and buy a $500. gift card.
He almost convinced me, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I thought that Apple was a reputable company. I called the number he gave me and was told that he was busy and would get back to me. I called a computer knowledgeable friend and was told about the scam. I am so thankful for her.

A persian kitten breeder scammed me. The website is vision persiankittens9. First they were telling me to pay with an iTunes gift card or amazon gift card or go to a western union and pay. The “breeder” specifically told me not to tell them that it was for a pet and say the money being sent for a friend. Now I know why he told me to do that, because western union knows breeders shouldn’t be using western union and if they are it’s a scam.
I payed the deposit for the cat which probably isn’t even a cat they bred, but the deposit was $100 and I was told to send it through PayPal but the actual cost for that cat was $800! I payed that through western union and after that I never heard from the breeder and they blocked me from EVERYTHING. By the time I knew it was a scam it was too late. Please be careful.

If someone tells you to lie about the real reason you are sending money, that's a warning sign of a scam.

I was at first texted by someone from DHS saying I got a 85, 000 grant. Then she conneceted me to someone going by James Brown. He said he is the head person of Fed-X. And he will deliever it to me if I get 500 dollars in Google Play Cards. I kept telling him i dont belirve him. He wanted to fall in love with me, me be his wife. I deleted him and did not buy no cards. Pleasr beware of him.

My friend was telling me some female out in Another state wanted some money to fix her phone he sent some money I’m not sure how much in total and then she ended up sending him a fat check that cleared. She is planing to come back over here and meet him and she said she used to live in the same area and gave description the whole situation just sounded suspicious to me but the thing is the money she sent cleared and it was a decent amount but she wanted the money he was sending in cards is this some sort of scam but if it is why would they send him money? I just don’t want him to get In some sort of trouble with the law or just losing out on his own earned money.

I'm asked to purchase a Steam gift card for a young lady in order to upgrade her phone to videochat and to even call me. I know she's scamming me, but I enjoy learning human behaviour. I wish to know in order to further my understanding of the situation. Thanks for your assistance in advance.

I think this women is trying to scam me. She's selling husky puppies, took pictures and a long description and sent it to me. She told me that I have to pay by going to get a walmart card and scratching off the back and then send it to her. After i do that she claims that she'll send the dog to my address . i haven't done it yet cause it seemed sketchy after she told me i had to pay with a gift card but the story and pictures seemed so real ...Thats why I'm confused

Don't do it. You are being scammed and noone can send animals by courier anyway. You always have to go to the kennel place and show id and become a registered owner of the pet.

I was recently asked to go to a store and purchase steam card for someone claiming to be Pharrell Williams. Why the #--! would a celebrity want me to purchase them a gift card? Sadly, it must work for some scammers to actually continue doing these things.

So I had a guy pay my credit card bill and once he did that he demanded that I go and buy 400 worth of “steam” cards. I know that it’s a scam so I blocked is number called the credit card company to have the payment reversed and to lock the account and issue a new one. Well know he’s texting me from another number saying that he’s gonna have me arrested because I have automated payments linked to that account and they came out. I’ve changed my password three times and he said that he can still see the account. Is it true that he can have me arrested? The credit card company is reversing the payment.

I'm so ashamed to say as if yesterday I was a victim of this scam. This joker Male or female got me for $100 Stream Gift Card, and tried to get me for $1000. Luckily I caught onto the scam. Beware!!! when selling items on Ebay that's how this whole mess started. These scam artists are out there waiting to prey upon people,making offers that sound so real and u fall hook line and sinker. As of this very minute this rotten person is still contacting me and won't leave me be. I filled a report with the FBI and Ebay. The local authorities said its useless due to the fact they are untraceable because of the burner phones and more than likely he/she is over in Singapore. These no gooders are smarter than we are and we have to protect ourselves!!!. They also love to victimize the elderly taking tens of thousands of dollars. I'm beside myself but time to pull up the boot straps and remind myself of the world we live in. PASS THIS ALONG,DO NOT FALL FOR THIS GARBAGE. If something doesnt seem right it isn't. Scammers are lurking all over. We must get the word out!!!

I had a doctor tell me he accepts gift cards as payment. He would apply the amount of gift card as payment and then freely use the gift card I gave him to use as he wishes. Is this legal?

I’m 16 and have been scammed for £200 on these bloody steam cards by men old enough to be my dad saying that they will give me thousands if I got them the cards and what a surprise I didn’t receive any money , I have contacted the websites I got the cards from and they said there’s nothing they can do so what now?

Scammers often tell stories to trick people into sending gift cards. If you send someone a gift card, or the code from the back of the card, they take control of the value on the card, and you can't get it back.

There are four men asking me for Amazon card for alot of money it is yeo50.50and30.30three of them are in the army

Do not do it! They are scammers. If they were real, they’d accept a care package, not ask for gift cards. Sad day when they pretend to be military members to scam people!

I got an email saying I won a $500 Amazon gift card. Anyone know anything about this type of a scam?

yup i also got the same scam but i don't know how it works =. i think they want your details like address and name

i received a blank postal money order with instructions telling me to cash fill it out with my name take 200.00 as my commission and buy 800.00 dollars in gift card from cvs walmart andd a few other stores they said i was doing surveys for them.

Please help me I got seriously taken for a lot of money n I don’t know what to do

I'm not sure if this company is legal or not. I was asked from Aragon finance Limited to get a 25 Amazon gift card so I got it now before I get my loan they are looking for a 150.00 security deposit before I can get my loan. Can you help please.

If a lender tells you to pay before you get the loan, that's a warning sign of a scam. And if they tell you to pay with a gift card, that's a second sign of a scam. If you send the money, you probably won't get the loan. This is called an advance-fee loan; this FTC article tells more about warning signs.

Make an account on Twitter, Scammers will add right away and start asking for all kinds of cards

On Twitter, a person has an account as a celebrity, but it's not the page that's verified with the check mark in blue. And the person is scamming people to buy them Steam Gift cards. I have screenshots, a phone number, and the twitter information.

My friend got one of these calls but i told him not to do it and i was right when i showed him this article. Now he is happy i warned him

my dad is now quite old and someone tried to scam him the same way.
be careful they try to scam old people

Someone from a dating site that I pay $70/month to belong to just did this to me today. We hadn't even met yet so it was a red flag immediately. He did exactly that, asked me to go to Walmart or CVS to buy a $100 gift card. Then asked me once I got it to take a picture of it and send to him. Obviously this was a scammer and I sent him this link, called him a really stupid scammer and reported him to the dating site. Blocked on my phone and on the site. When it smells like a RAT it IS a rat!

This guy tried to scam me through messaging in Words With Friends. Wilhelm. manfred50@


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