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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

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Well My dcsmmet is asking for a steam catd 100 dollars, then went up to 500 And no i didn't He is using Mark sinclair... Absolutely disappointed and shocked at this...

Just scammed out of $800 through booking.com. Had a reservation through booking at a resort and we were to pay at checkin. They had no record of the reservation as some property owners use booking.com. Contacted booking.com and they said there was an issue with the credit card on file and that we needed to pay an alternate way - eBay gift cards. I asked for proof who I was speaking with since I got a name and number that we called and verified and an email from booking I felt somewhat satisfied but still that it went against my better judgement. Gave the eBay gift numbers and was told that they would process a refund for all the trouble and that our sat would be free. Get to the refund department and they need another amount in gift cards as they have to process the refund for more than the purchase. Right then I knew. However we contacted booking.com directly so I honestly don’t know how this happened.

Someone sent me a check, and my bank approved it after 3 days ( I deposited it Saturday, approved Tuesday). The buyer asked me to pay the mover picking the package up via gift cards and to send the scratched off gift cards to him. Is this a scam?

Was it a cashiers check? I think we just got scammed as well.

I tried changing hotels from Expedia they then transferred me to a "billing representative and since I was changing hotels they would need gift cards from Walmart to pay for the trip I had just purchased. They said they would cancel the trip and my new hotel would be the same price?? I then remembered Expedia telling me the day prior that I Had to Cancel and they didn't have that power. Luckily I listened to my gut and never purchased the gist cards. I called Expedia and I did end up canceling my own trip. The guy called me back and asked me why I didn't purchase the cards I told him it was a scam and I was going to report them. Of course they hung up!! Never ever buy something with a gift card gift cards are gifts not payment. Its always always a scam.

I received a email from a gentleman who claim he had interested in me from a online website we spoke for a short while and he asked me for Google Play Card to update his phone so we could video chat, which this never happen, made so many promises to me but never came thru I bought gift cards and sent them to him via text what big mistake this was I just got scammed

Thanks for this information about the gift cards. I thank God my credit card has top of the line protection and is hard to use at ATMS. I almost got scammed by a caller claiming to be with the IRS. They said I was selected by a lottery to receive a grant of $9000.00. Fortunately I could not use the credit card to purchase a gift card. It had to be cash only. So I told the lady I would pass on the opportunity to receive $9000.00. They are relentless at calling you from so many different phone numbers that I kept blocking. Be very careful out there!

I was told the government would send me grant for $25000 if I send them $800 to take front and back give receipt of me purchasing it through Amazon card. Using Attorney Lorretta Lynch name.

I think I been scammed...who do I contact to help me?
Thanks

I was asked to go get two gift cards that are with Amazon and I am lost if I should or not honestly The info he has provided matches with the owner info but I'm not sure

Someone intelligent but vulnerable that I know recently told me she got scammed this way.

I have this people asking me for cards and they are threatened me to get them if I don't get them they will arrest me those people are omas hood the UN United diplomat and perterson avalos

This is happening to me right now I’m scared I don’t no what to do what did you do ?

Recently, me and my spouse were forced to buy Target gift cards worth $6400 by such scammers posing as FBI. I have filed the complaint with FTC, Target, and local PD. The question is what FTC and Target are going to do about it. Why allow businesses to sell such products which cannot be traced online? With Target gift cards someone can use only on Target.com online. Target says they cannot still track how the card is used. Why not FTC force retailers to stop selling such gift cards or at least ask them to put a restriction of 48 hours or so before such gift cards can be used online after they are bought with cash or debit cards. Funny thing is Target knows exactly how it is being miss used based on the information provided on their website warning customers about how it can be miss used. It matches word to word how we were scammed. Simply putting the script on the website doesn't help people. It doesn't help or solve the problem, since people prefer to read news on CNN or FOX News rather than opening Target.com website every morning to keep themselves up to date about such scams.

I’ve been scammed and need help inmidiatetly I need someone to call me before they’re gone.

I just want to let you know about a guy that I have been talking to for 6 months on hangouts called Phillip Patrick he is claiming to be a model very attractive good looking he use to send me messages of love to me everyday saying i love you then he never video called me.
He then started to ask me for an iTunes card and amazon gift card now he is saying to me that he wants me to leave for no reasons I am so blind because I fell in love with him he just demands things of me is this guy a scam he said to me that he is real thankyou for your kind feedback have a lovely day.

I have seen a lot of people on Instagram asking to buy them steam wallet or amazon gift cards as needed for food etc.Wanting to act like they like you or even saying they love you after meeting them in just a few hours.They always want you to go to hangouts or WhatsApp .All I can stress is report them!

My scammer pretended to be a makeup artist named Sarah Brenda. I was suspicious as she had excuse after excuse as to why she could not video chat. She asked me to send a steam gift card so she could buy groceries. Something didn’t add app. Then she got really angry at me for saying no. I eventually reverse image searched her pictures and the pictures were stolen from an Instagram model with a completely different name and location

I jhave today a situation like this to pay an insurance for a loan with an Amazon Card.
Holo Finance 13:09 (13 minutes ago) to me
"Hi Cosmin, Thanks for your email. Amazon card is government regulated card affiliated by FCA AND OFT and we are registered under companies act 1998 so we are allowed to take the payment by Amazon card. Also we are merchant partners of Amazon Card so it will speedy the whole loan process and you will get the loan in next 20 minutes after you buy it. So please don't worry and try to make the payment of £25 and get the loan with us straight away. Hope it clear all your doubts ."
This is the email that they send it to me.
The loan firm is HOLOGIC UK FINANCE LTD registered in England and Wales (Company number 09828916).
I verify and that firm is registered at gov and the emails was send by oane that is specify on theyr website. So what do you think i should do?

Okay so this guy hired me to be a virtual assistant. And he gave me a check for $1000 and wanted me to get him a Walmart gift card for $500. I only did it because the check actually went through . So I did it and I thought it was over. But now he gave me another check for $2,800 and it's processing now. And tommorow he wants me to get 3 credit cards for $500 each and send them to him. I called my bank and the initial $1000 check went through and he can't get it back. So I'm confused on how this is a scam but it doesn't feel right. Is he trying to launder money through me or something?

Same thing here

The scammer whose phone number is (973) 556-2102, was going to buy a paint from me through eBay. In theory he was going to pay $1000 dollars for the paint and then he asked for a favor ;

I bought it as a birthday gift for my cousin which i will request it ship to her in Illinois, i want you to help me write a short beautiful note and get a steam card of $300 inside the package and have it shipped together as i will be adding extra $300 to your payment for the steam card and $100 for the shipping cost.

Light stream, a division of SunTrust bank, asked to do this.

I was asked to buy a steam card scratch it and send a photo of it to someone

I was asked to do the steam card and scratch it too!!!

I've been asking to pay buy gift cards me being a fool has sent them they got like 200pounds one card money I sent 2 weeks and one yesterday so now I am feeling so stupid now

I am a professional musician and received, out of the blue, an invite for me and my band to perform at the Oslo World Music Festival at the end of October to fill a slot opened up by a band that canceled. Their terms are attractive; they interact
In a professional manner. The festival
has been taking place annually since 2000 and is even written up in the Oslo tourist guide. I learned that a friend of a musician friend from Pakistan is going to perform this year. However, when I submitted the application for work visa to the travel agent referred to me by the supposed festival director, she asked for payment by Steam Card. (The festival director said this would be reimbursed upon our arrival in Oslo.) After reading the alerts about scamming, I wrote to the festival director saying they method of payment the travel agent is requesting is not valid, and they need to change that. I got a reply saying they are using Steam Card, iTunes, and PayPal to keep accountability—and that I should pay without further delay. I have sent a message through Facebook to the
Festival Director, whose name is the same as the individual emailing me and has a legitimate profile with many friends whom I also know, expressing my concern. I have given the alleged festival director and travel agency my passport information but nothing else.

Please advise.

This is a scammer who tried to scam me saying he is a lawyer. Jason bradurn1 he told me to put money on a wal mart card and don’t register it. Catch him please.

There have been multiple accounts on Twitter messaging many people saying they will send you $5000 if you send a gift card. They have a picture that looks like it is from the PayPal website. How do I report these accounts so that other people do not get scammed by them?

I have been scammed twice on google hang outs by some one who clamed thay loved me and said thay saw me on face book I have decided to ban Facebook and hangouts altogether because of this situation

I was contacted by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation saying I was electronically chosen to be a recipient of money. They wanted £500 on a Steam Wallet gift card to cover shipping and delivery of the large amount of money!! They wanted me to send a photo of the gift card to activate everything! I spoke to a friend who told me to delete everything as it was a scam, which I did. So be warned this was through Facebook!

I continue to get gift cards from WALMART FOR $1000.00. I HAVE ANSWERED THE TEXT QESTIONS AND HAVE BOUGHT BEFORE. I NEVER GET MY CARD.

I think I'm getting scammed. I was told I won 50,000 dollars and need iTunes cards to pay for shipping the money. I need help here. I don't know what to do. He wants me to get a credit union account and give him all my informatio.

I was at The Real Canadian Super Store, shopping for groceries. Shopping alone,heading to the checkout stand. That's when I noticed a circular rack with lots of gift cards. I bought a $25 Google play store gift card, it was my decision. Then I put it or deposited it in Google Play store.

I've met this guy through dating app. He says that he's a U.S Army that was deployed in afghanistan. He's asking for some help to load his steam wallet card for $50. I trusted him and gave him $50 steam wallet as a gift card. I want to know if the U.S government deployed military in Afghanistan

Yes it’s a scam. Steam cards are for a video game site called steam. It’s to purchase games and dlc. There are lots of guys claiming to be military doing this. Don’t fall for it. I have a friend who’s been giving thousands away to a military guy. He even went to Orlando to meet the guy and had him sitting 2 days at a bus stop never showed up. He finally gets a text saying he was suddenly recalled to base. Come on!

Someone is asking me to get an eBay gift card so they can change their location. Something about ipvanish vpn. They said that they are trying to send money with cash app but they are out of the states and it will not let them. I think this might be a scam. Does anyone have any info about this

They are using Instagram to con people also. I research everything before I act. The person is pretending to be a member of the military and targeting women asking for steam gift cards. The company itself has this as a scam. As far as I can find, the card is only good for game purchases. I bought several for my own kids, so telling me you need it for your phone bill and if I don’t they could die doesn’t work on me. People need to pay attention and think before buying any gift cards or giving out info.

Yesterday, I received an email from an address disguised as the CEO/owner of our company. It asked me to run out out for a favor. I then received a txt from a number disguised as him asking me to go purchase gift cards for him to use for employees. Originally I didn’t think this was that odd so I agreed. I notified him that I did not have a company card and he reassured me he would reimburse me. I was not worried about that at all as I believed I was speaking to our owner. I proceeded to purchase $3000 in gift cards for him. We are a larger company so this was not a high amount in particular. However thinking back he would never expect an employee to use their own money. The requests were for eBay and Google Play cards. The scammer then asked me to scratch them so he could use for employees immediately. I am wondering what protection I have personally from my bank and their fraud insurance. Or if there is nothing I can do? I made a police report and reported it to FTC and FBI Scam hotline. I have the disguised email address: suehess1@ the phone number (which probably is of no use), the txt and email messages, along with all the gift cards. Wondering if anything can be used to trace back to someone’s computer?

Jennifer Foster 6462452950 was scambed by person about a loan which wasn't a loan. Brought the cards and send the money back to the person latter my bank close my account so that I can't get any money. They said after they go over my account and If I don't owe them anything the will send me a check in a few weeks.I don't have any money and the money that'd their I can't get. This is what's going on

Good thing I read this review befire hand. Someone from USA asked me to buy this particular gift card for an iphone 11. Tough luck scammer!

I was told that they had a consignment box to delivery to me and i had to purchase $100 on Steam Cards to receive the cosignment box which has Money in it!!!!

I had this happen to me on Instagram recently - had some random dude send me a private message, start chatting me up for a couple of days and then, BAM! He asks me to send him an Amazon gift card. Not happening buddy - I don't even know you! Immediately blocked him.

It happen to me i gave them number scratched off what do i do can they get into bank account

I was told to buy a gift card so I could recieve a payment to my paypal account is this also a scam?

I believe I have been scammed. I needed a place to stay and became desperate. A man from Craigslist claim to rent me a room. He asked me to get two separate steam gift cards. $100 a peice. This was our last money. I am trying to check the cards as he claims to not have used the cards yet.

I met a guy on a dating app - coffee meet bagel. We chatted only a few days and he wanted to continue the chat on Whatsapp, which I have to give him my cell phone #. After few days he said he had to go to Malaysia for 2 weeks to work on a project. He told me days before the date his "flight" take off. When he was "in Malaysia" all of the sudden he asked me to buy him $200 dollar apple gift card and scratch the back to give him pin # to unlock his project application. Once he asked for gift card I knew it was a scam; besides, I have never heard about unlocking project application. What does it even mean? Also if the project is so important, shouldn't he get well-prepared before he left? I asked him and he even can't explain it and told me he can't ask his friend for help. I blocked him and he contacted via Whatsapp again days after WITH DIFFERENT HEAD PHOTO! I know I trust people too easy but I'm not that stupid to believe he is real.

I am in contact with someone now trying to scam me and they are trying to say their children need these cards for school. I know its a scam . Says he is over seas and can't send them the cards. He is widowed the whole bit. So i asked him to send me some money for the cards or his address so i can just send the cards to the address. He keeps avoiding and says its for the kids. What a joke.
Blocking him on hangouts today.
Just be careful out there if its too good to be true from a guy or girl then its probably a scam. Especially if they start telling you how beautiful you are and writing you poetry and telling you they love you after just chatting. Don't fall for it.
These scammers are everywhere. .

Oh my gosh that sounds almost like the guy talking to me! He's on a rig platform off of Santa Barbara. Two girls with Nanny on land and he's a widow. Askiing me for a 200 steam card so he can update his phone. His name is Travis Owens. Oh and he wrote me a poem.

I was asked to purchase a $100 Steam card for an application for a grant from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). They are currently verifying the card to process my application. Have you heard of this before?

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