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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

Comments

I was contacted last Saturday about a work at home job. I agreed I was told I would be sentna check for a certain dollar amount via FEDEX after receiving the check I was to deposit it via the ATM in my account. I did not deposit the check for $2850.00 into my account instead I opened up an another account and deposited the check. The next day he contacted me via Hangout with the instructions to purchase ebay gifted cards my instincts kicked in I contacted him via Hangout with questions about that he stated the ebay gift cards would be used to pay for everything I needed to do the work. Now mind he sent me an Offering Letter and I sugned off on it he stated he worked for a large company in which I goggled his afflilation with this company and he was listed and had a photo and title with this. Company as a Technical Consultant. I have become very suspious about him being a SCAMMER what should I do?

I was offered a part-time data entry job. They asked me to get a 15$ google play gift card for creating job profile. I gave google play code to them and they say that it was already used. I asked the gamer card seller , they told that your are scammed by them, i don't know what to do?????

Guy sent dm through instagram said to talk to him through hangouts. Said he had business in dubai and can't access his account when he got there asked for gift cards. I said no then wants credit cards and I'm supposed to snap a pic front and back for his attorney to activate the card and not to do it myself.....even sent a picture of a letter stating the ship his heavy equipment is on is being held by customs. Wants my banks name so his attorney can email me a check to deposit and send him money.....sounds fishy right

Yes, that sounds like they're trying to get you involved in a scam.

Some scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. After they form a “relationship,” they make up a story and ask their new friend to deposit a check into her bank account, and then wire the money out of the country.

But the check is no good, and it bounces. If you deposit a check and send money, and the check is no good, you must repay the bank all the money you took out. You could lose money and personal information, and be helping a criminal. 

Just had them on the phone saying I had won £39,500 WHICH WOULD BE DELIVERED TO ME IN CASH BY 3 MEN, after I have counted the money I would then have to pay £700 on one of these cards as this is the only payment they would accept. Seem too good to be true. The telephone person needed to verify the card earlier in the day and I suppose the £700 would just then dissapear.
Their number was 041 44 585 1534 if that is of any help

kept the copy on my computer of lottery ticket . I told him and ups man I knew it was scam

Could the guy up the road the tech guy who has fixed and looked at my computers and just bought computer of dor son be hacking into my paypal. This year and last. Single mum. No food for xmas. Want this looked into. Please. He msgs alk the time and really feeling uneasy

Yes... They have men claiming to be in the military with no access to funds and later ask for help with game cards or their flight back home

I can't access my yahoo account so rang customer service and they telling me I need to buy a £50 Google play card to verify who I am (how that is possible) they said it would be refunded. Call was made at 8.30pm Xmas day x

The number you called was not really Yahoo customer support.

Any phone number you find in an internet search that says it will connect you to Yahoo customer care is fake. Yahoo gives support by email, chat and articles, not by phone. Read this warning from Yahoo about fake numbers.

+1 (213) 630-9226
Scammer trying to get me to buy giftcard for Church member?

I have just been asked to send a £30 Google play gift card so they can still talk to me online is this a scam ?

A Google play card does not help someone talk to you online.  You can use it for apps, games, movies, TV shows, music, and books.

OK PEOPLE THE BIGGEST SCAM OUT THERE A LOAN COMPANY WHO WILL OFFER YOU THIS HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY , LOL THEN GO TO THE TROUBLE TO GET ALL YOUR INFO SS BANKING AND ALL THAT,, DONT ! THEN THEY WILL DEPOSIT A CHECK IN YOUR ACCOUNT HA RIGHT ? THEN ASK YOU TO GO BUY GIFT CARDS WITH THAT MONEY,, SUCH AS EBAY ECT FOR SOME BOGUS INSURANCE CHARGE ECT SO,,, YOU GO DO THIS ,, GUESS WHAT ? THEIR CHECK IS NO GOOD ! SO THEN IT BOUNCES ,, THEY HAVE THE MONEY ON GIFT CARDS AND YOUR LEFT BEING HELD RESPONSIBLE NOT TO MENTION THEY HAVE ALL YOUR INFO AND CAN DIP INTO YOUR ACCOUNT !! THEN YOU HAVE TO CALL YOUR BANK FREEZE EVERTHING OUT ,, ACCOUNT DEBIT CARDS AND ALL AND LOL OPEN A NEW ACCOUNT AND YOUR BANK ECT IS NOT LIABLE YOU ARE .. YOU GAVE OUT THE INFO
AND THEY WILL DO ALL THIS BY TEXT !! LOL NO NO ONE IS GOING TO LOAN YOU 5000 AND UP ON ANYTHING UNSECURED,, THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT ANYTHING AND NO FDIC
INSURANCE TO BE BOUGHT TO SECURE A LOAN WITH GIFT CARDS HAHAH DONT BE FOOLED IM SURE MANY OF US HAVE FALLEN ON HARD TIMES .. BUT IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BETRUE ? IT IS RUN !!! THEY ARE FAST TALKERS ,,, DONT FALL PREY TO SOMETHING LIKE THIS

I have not lost any money yet but suspected this new scam was being played. I just wanted to share it with you. I was trying to get a loan online. I received two separate unsolicited calls from different numbers within 20 minutes of each other. Both offered me a loan for 5000 - 7500 dollars. I only asked for 1000. Anyway. They would stretch it out over 36 months and the monthly payments would be $159 and $161 respectively. I was beginning to show interest but still thought it was odd. I had not secured this offer or signed anything. They said they could wire the money straight into my account later today. So I played along. I was curious how this was going to play. He read of my info, (I never gave it to him so he got it all from the online loan pool. I was about to be very confused when it finally happened. You have to buy a EBY card first. You can just go to CVS or Walgreens and buy one for yourself! Just show us your receipt and then we can wire your bank the money. That was just too obvious but I had never heard of using bank loans to con someone out of a gift card. Wow! Now the second guy veered off a little from the first guy. He was worse. Much easier to identify. He did not like my bank. (Compass). He said you need to open a new checking account with let's see. Hmm. (He was thinking so hard). Like say, U.S. Bank or BS&T. Then while we were still speaking, he sent me a 3 step set of instructions. 1. You have to open checking account. 2. You have to get temporary debit card. 3. You have to set up online banking. He said read my text back to me. After I complied, He quickly said, Don't tell the bank why you are getting a new account. If they finsd out it is just to get a loan, they may charge you an extra 20 or 30 dollars. Ha! This guy must've thought I was the king of dumb. Nothing this guy said sounded legit. At least the other guy sounded legit for a couple minutes before reality began to fray. Well, They are both waiting for me to 1. buy a card and call them back and 2. Open a new account and call them back. I think ixnay on both ideas but I just did not want to call them back. I'll place them on a backburner somewhere where they can simmer. I'll just list their names and numbers, (serves them right). David Sherman, from Easy Loans, with an incredible Middle-Eastern accent, called me from 310 868-9404. Then there was one called Lakesha from Quick Loans (Multiple numbers when you combined text, voice and signature. Also got a kick out of those company names. Quick Loans and Easy Loans. Like two peas in a pod. I better run. Gotta go try and get me a loan you know. Be careful out there!

What happens in the end to everyone? Does the bank refund your money? Does this effect your credit? I think it may be happening to my sister. Are there legal actions that could happen to her? She was given $5k months ago sent off some Steam & Sephora gift cards and woke up today with her acct negative balance of $4,900!

You are responsible for the checks you deposit. If you deposit a bad check and withdraw money right away, you will be responsible when the check bounces.

If your sister deposited a bad check and withdrew money to buy gift cards, but the check bounced later, she has to repay the bank all the money she withdrew. 

When a lady asks you to buy a steam card for her son before meeting is it a scam

What does it mean when the scammer asks you to get two Amazon cards and put $100.00 on each one, take a picture of each receipt, and scratch off the number on back. This money is so that they can come and meet you?

If you send someone the pictures of the numbers on the back of the card, they can use the value of the card. You spent money, but they can use the card for whatever they want.

Hi.i want to ask..my friend ask me to buy a gift card .so he will send me money for transaction of my allowance.. it really needed for a gift card to send money on paypal

I have lost thousands and thousands of dollars and no respond to my winnings that supposedly I have but I really don't have unlock my last name I had strep me clean

The same happened to me. The person claimed to be from evolution gaming. I knew it was a scam but couldn’t see how they can scam me without my SSN. The interview was held via text messages. Lol. Then they offered me a “job”, and said they will send me a check to buy laptop. A day later they asked to purchase gift cards so I can buy software. I found this very odd but still couldn’t see how they could scam me. Then I found this article. Oh my gosh. Is there a way to report these people for investigation?

I don't know if this is a scam or not. But I met somebody on a dating website who said that they were going to send me $850 per week if I give them or send to Chase at least $100 worth of iTunes cards.... This in one email saying that I had to do it... My friend out that with that one... But then next you know they said that they needed it again due to the fact that they had to increase the amount on my PayPal to $500 so I can accept the cash from this guy...my friend claimed that he was a sugar daddy and that he was going to help me out with life... My stress and my illness cannot stand this and I would like to know if this is a scam or not..

I was scammed by someone who said they was a loan officer and was going to put 3000 in my account after I sent them 390. I was told to go to Walgreens and but a Best buy card while he was on the phone with me. He said his name was Ray Thompson. Then to day he said I had to get two more Best buy cards one for 500 and one for 200. Before he could send me the money. I did the 390 but I did not do the two for today

So I posted something to sell on OfferUp and I was contacted by a lady called Vanessa for the dress she said she was willing to send me money through cashapp so I can send the dress. She finally send the money but supposedly my cashapp needed an upgrade to business since the amount she was sending passed the limit of what I’m allowed to recieve, so she had to send $300 more for me to recieve the money, this was all through email , then the sent me another email saying I needed to buy 3 gift cards with 100$ each so they can refund her the 300 and i get the rest accredited to my cashapp Immediately .. then i actually bought them send them the code and Supposedly 2 of the cards came out “bad” and they needed a 200$ extra so 2 cards more .. they keep emailing me to send it or they’ll block my account and sue me.. do you think this is a scam ??

That sounds like a scam. When someone says they will pay you, but they send too much money and ask you to send money back, it's usually a scam. The often happens to people who sell things online. It's called an "overpayment scam."

Use a safe link to check the balance of your online account.  Don't click on links from the scammer. You don't have to send money to the scammer. 

Hey I have been told I win $50000 and they asked me to pay £100 in steam cards to the person who said I win this money, so I did payed her and after someone contacted me she said she is agent and ask me to pay another £100 in steam cards and I will get my winnings,so I did again, and after another person who was the insurance person asked me to pay to this agent another £200 steam card and I will get my winnings so I did payed again, and after the person who said I did win this money from her because she offered me this money because she said she wanted to help me ask for another £50 in steam cards so I did payed her again so I did payed £450 in steam cards to them and I never get any money or winnings or package like they said I will get it and the last one they asked for to pay £250 to immigration insurance fees and I will get my winnings so I told them I can't pay because I don't have any money left and they said I will be arrested because I did not followed the proceed so my question is why I will be arrested if I didn't get my winnings? And they didn't give me back my £450 ?

Somebody asked me to get a Walmart gift card and then a bank would send me a check to forward. I won't do that.

I been talking with this guy. He said he want to pay my credit car, I allow this and after that he asked me for eBay cards for something on his job. I told him I don’t have the money but now the money that he send me is on my credit card. And he asked again for the eBay car physical eBay card not online. What should I do.? It’s feel I’m been scam but he did pay the credit card.!

I was scammed a few times on Instagram. Fake profiles were sending me a friend request offering to pay off credit cards and pay my bills. One credit card was paid for me and the lady asked me to get her a $50 gift card so she could pay my Amazon credit card. She didn’t. Then asked for another $59 gift card after I sent the first one. Then after she paid PayPal and EBay then asked me to get her 2 $100 gift cards from both places. When I said no that I didn’t have any money, she unpaid the credit cards that she did pay. I didn’t have any money and it didn’t make sense to buy gift cards when I was already behind in bills. She was very aggressive about me not getting those gift cards. She then later found other people and thankfully those people had sense to contact me before they sent anything to her. I told them the truth and they sent me screenshots and I realized that the profile sending the messages to them was not the same person / profile I’d been talking to.

I was contacted by text to pick up 2 cards for my boss. I did not purchase cards because I contacted the office first to ask.
Is there somewhere I can report this or is it something that will never be looked at.
They have a phone number but you can only text to it because I tried to call them. I am a Realtor and almost did it but I questioned why a Realtor would buy an eBay card as a gift and knew any realtor would not purchase 2 gift cards for $100 each.

I have been asked by a male person to buy a stem card he said that he is in the USA army and that he needs a stem card because his data base is low and he needs the card to top it back up his email is Austin Conner 200@ I have a feeling that this is a scam. No I did not buy a stem card

I got scammed I think. It was a promised grant and they asked me to buy 8 $100 Amazon GIft Cards and to send them the pictures of all. I did it but now I do believe it was a scam. I still have the cards, can they get money from them based on the pictures I sent them or can I keep the cards and use them or can I return them. Got at Walgreens in Rogersville and Morristown TN

More comment. This was stated to be Community Development Block Grant Program and I was granted $2000,500. But they demanded I send them 8 $100 Amazon Gift Cards. I sent them pictures but kept the gift cards until money was to be delivered. Now they say I must pay the IRS the tax money and sent it to them, so I feel it is all a huge scam. What can I do about keeping the 8 $100 gift cards and use them myself. Can they still use them having the pictures. I can not talk to anyone on your phone due to virus problem the phone says.

So I got caught up in a giftcard scam, and they told me that some of the gift cards didnt work that I had to buy more. Would this be true that they didn't work? Or is that them just trying to get more $ out of me?

So, I seen a post on my facebook about getting 1500-3500$ sent to my bank account before midnight. So I made a comment on it and a girl messaged me on messenger. It's a girl i actually went to middle school with. She told me she works for some company. She said if I were to buy a gift card at my local Walmart or any store that has gift cards for 100$, I would get 1500$ sent to my account. (Cash app, walmart to Walmart, etc.) She said if I were to spend 200$ on a gift card if get 2500$ sent to my account. She sent me screenshots of other people that she messaged and has done it with and it shows they actually got the money sent to their cash app account .... so I dont know if this is a scam or not ???? Help.

A man wants to purchase material I am selling thru my small business but has claimed he can send the money thru the pay pal like everyone else? He wants to me get a gift card so he can put the fund on there since “he is on a business trip and has no access to his banks and his accounts are on hold”? Should I proceed with my business and do so or is this a scam he contacted me about my merchandise on Instagram and he has real pics and seems real says he doesn’t want any scams to happen to him and he just wants my honest merchandise I’m selling? What to do?

General question. Would any law enforcement in Tennessee ask you to go to Walmart, dollar general, Walgreens, and etc places to buy a pre paid one vanilla card and put money on it then have you wait in parking lot saying you cant move until we process the information then tell you . To go buy more when they supposedly enter the wrong information

I ALMOST fell for it.
It was like a grant for an exorbitant amount of money that my friend supposedly got and told me I could get too. I was approved for $500k USD. They wanted me to pay $1000 in GIFT CARDS to clear taxes and customs.
I seen that and looked it up. So glad because I am not out any money.

I applied for a loan and i have had a company offer me a loan but they are expecting and insurance payment upfront by me of £25 for the £2000 to be in my account 20 minutes after they have recieved the £25 but they want the £25 insurance upfront payment by means of a £25amazon gift card. Any thougbta

I am not quite sure but, maybe i should check with a friesd to see if i have stupid stamped on my forehead. i keep getting these scams sent to me this time it was to be a survey. i was to deposit a check they sent to me and when i had cash in hand go to a local store and buy gift card then call them with the pass numbers and photo of the number from the front of the card. Do i have STUPID stamped on my forehead? don't ever be so desperate for money that you will do anything... 'cuase it's your sole you'll loose.

I got scammed from a seller on eBay. He sent me a fake invoice and asked for $1,000 in ebay gift cards for the purchase of a motorcycle. As soon as I sent the cards he deleted his listings and would not respond to me. Be careful out there!

Someone asked me to get them a steam card and text info to them right alone with proof of purchase. I then texted pictures of the steam card with the recipe to them. What reason could the other party have had for need of the recipe when the person in question was not the one buying the gift card in the first place?

On May 11, 2020 I called facebook to request help in suspending a facebook account I'd opened for business purposes only. A representative told me someone was trying to hack my account. I was directed me to go buy ebay cards and give them the code and they would block the hackers. Out of panick, I was out of over $300 when I caught on. I called my bank and was told they monitor fraud on my account and they saw no suspicious activity. The guy from Facebook called me back several times insisting that I buy more cards and give him the number.
Please don't pay anybody with ebay cards.
This needs to be reported. Times are stressful enough already.

I was sent an email from cashapp saying that I have to get an eBay voucher to get $3,500 from my cashapp

I bought a gift card and it was declined and I just bought it so I don’t understand if you could check it out for me and let me know please I’d be greatly appreciated

I read about scams re: gift cards.But what is the deal about getting messages from CVS saying my gift card is there to be picked up or mailed to me the amounts have been as much as 80, 90, and more amounts. Is this a scam? I would like to have them if it is real but I have ignored them and I still keep getting these e mails telling me I have a gift card to claim with certain amounts. I did not see how to find out about it but did not pursue it because it sounds like a scam. I can't believe CVS is going to give me or anyone a $90 dollar gift card or even several other amounts I have been told I have. so far if I had picked up anything like that it would have amounted to at least $ 200. or more but there is no set place to collect them except to reply to the e mail and that sounds fishy too. .

A man on a dating site asked me to buy him a $150 stream card . It sounds fishy because it's 4 his phone . I don't believe him. I don't know how to handle it?

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Had applied for a loan when got the loan officer he said got approved for the amount the company name is speedy cash loans they said they wanted to secure the payment with $100 eBay card seemed like a scam to me so I did not do it

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