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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 was asked to purchase a eBay card BC cash app needed to verify senders payment. So n order for my funds to be released I had to make tht purchase! Sounds fishy to me

A friend just told me how her GOOD FRIEND told her to go get 5 ebay cards at 100.
00 east. And take a picture of them with the info scratched off the back and send to him
. Then, in 7 hours FEDEX would deliver 50,000. 00 to her in a check
Ofcouse she would have to pay for shipping. It took me 20 minutes to convince her this was a scam because these people were here "friends". They were going to take her last 500.00 and never look back. I wish I knew their info to report them

Met someone online (hangouts) stating they work for the UN and want to take a vacation however cannot unless its paid in advance and they cannot access their account for security reasons and you will be refunded upon landing in country of destination. I made no response and said sorry cannot help you. then said to send 300-400 in itunes and/or ebay cards to access their account to send money to cover expenses. Please advise......

Sounds like the same guy! His "sister worked at the UN"

I got scammed off cash app doing the “pay gift card” don’t believe these people

Some dude claiming to be in love with me and is deployed in West Africa wants me to send him an Amazon card, iTunes, or steam card to upgrade his phone so he don't lose connection with me. I told him that u don't use those card to upgrade your phone. I looked his picture up and his image is used for scams. I do my research when i know something sounds off and all his pictures he sent me look to much like a model.

So recently,on Instagram, a Mavis Wanczyk,supposed 700 million lottery winner,reached out and said that i was selected to be awarded $100,000 from her winnings...she then gave me this number to a WhatsApp Contact,A fedex agent,name Charles Thompson and had said that in order for me to claim my winnings,I needed to get an Amazon card with $25 in it to pay a fee...scam,i suppose?

+15627198596 scammer... He found me on a dating site on Facebook. First he liked me he started writing me these love poems for about a week and a half and then it came to an end when he wanted me to transfer money from his account to another account and when I didn't hear she got rude and crazy and then a whole day I spent listening to him tell me how I lied to him I didn't care about him and then he tries to get me to buy steam gift cards for a Lexus account and of course I didn't do it and he started laughing and then he hung up that phone number is where he would text me and then he would use that Google free texting to text me so I don't think that's traceable and he was going under somebody's fake name Larry Pennington you run across that stay the heck away from

I was scammed today for $650.00 @ Walgreens in Frankfort, trying to get cards cancelled. Please help me.. I have never used eBay before.. Thank You

I'm currently in Germany
I own a commercial construction company and i buy and sell heavy metals
My hard work pays now..
I came from a poor family..was raised and born in Jacksonville Florida.. I was the only Child we where so poor and Couldn't even support my self in college,my dad was never there for me..

This guy wants you to send him an eBay gift card to pay for a PayPal transaction. Be smart girls! No one is going to send you money for nothing. Unfortunately I ask to many questions lol. Calls himself Philip Robert.

This literally just happened to me. Claiming to be a sugar daddy and he'll give me a $5,000 allowance. I asked if all fees are included he said yes. Then he said I had to buy an Amazon giftcard at $100. I said I didn't have the money he told me that I need to find money. As soon as I pay for the $100 giftcard my $5,000 will be sent. I knew it was a scam cause no one is willing to give away $5,000 for free. He found me on Tiktok and made we go to Hangouts to talk. I recorded everything.

This literally just happned to me. I meet a guy on a dating app he claims hes a sugar daddy and he would pay me 5000 to my paypal but I had to get an amazon card for $100 to cover the transaction charges. Of course I looked into and found out its a total scam like I knew already. Be careful out there

I had a guy call me said I won a lot of money and they need 200 dollars to send ups to my house with the winnings I haven't done anything yet told them I was at work to call back how can I tell if it is legit ?

there is a guy named Geor g e Dickerson saying he wants to share his lotto wins with me but I have to send 200 dollars in ebay cards. They are seriously PRESSURING ME WHAT DO I DO

Hi I live in the UK and I have someone messaging me on WhatsApp claiming to be a WWE female wrestler she wants me to get her £175 in gift cards, she seems genuine but I'm not sure what to do any help appreciated

I have been told that someone will deposit money into my account and then for the winning package I'm to send gift cards to a FedEx company instead of them paying for the charges themselves this just another scam because I'll just change my passwords etc right now

I have applied for a personal loan then a lender said I was approved while going threw the steps they said because of credit score they had to have fees payed to send it but for me not to worry they would send me the money,so they put a check in my account to be sent back to them with a Nike prepaid gift card,and in to stay on the phone and not tell the store when purchasing what it is for is this a scam??? Or could it be legit???

Hi I got a steam card and this person needed help paying phone bill but I know now that you can't pay a phone bill with a steam card so it was a scam

What if a someone tells me to buy the gift card to pay for the fee and they have proof that the money is processing by sending me a picture is this a scam still?

I also reviewed a check in the mail and asked to purchase American E press gift cards. This is obviously not legit. I contacted American Express Fraud Departmenr and basically they were uninterested. They did not want any details about it. They asked if I was an AE cardholder. When I said no they said thank you and hung up the phone. So much for Fraud Prevention. American Express is only interested in this information AFTER your money is stolen.

I was contacted through email by a Debt company saying I owed money for a cash advance. I advised I had no clue what they were talking about but they did have an old address, my name and ss#. They claim if I don't pay them back they'll be filing in court in Denver, although the "lawyer" listed on email is in Alabama, if I don't make an arrangement with them. I set up an arrangement but then they asked to be paid in gift cards which seems very fishy to me. Is this some type of scam too?

I got someone that wanted to be my sugar daddy and wanted me to get a amex gift card that I have to pay $50 for and provide my cash app

A man contacted me on linked in, supposedly in the same industry. I was after a quotation for products. We moved the conversation to google hangouts, and became friendly, sharing normal information work life location hobbies interests, backgrounds etc. I was due on a business trip and had arranged to meet up for dinner date with the view of potential romantic interest. He was a CEO of a company posing as super wealthy, well dressed and a widow of similar age and job background. Ran government contracts. Prayed on the fact id had cancer in the past, and apparently his sister had cancer and his wife died of it too. His spelling wasnt great, but that was forgivable for the time poor. He didnt sleep much, usual CEO behaviors, had a nanny and someone to look after his boys. Declared his love for me, which i thought was odd for someone you never met in person.. But always refused to speak on the phone.

The cracks appeared as the quote never arrived, the address he gave was false, and it seems the company was never registered nor could i find him in the white pages. so i started to get suspicious. The phone numbers not in locations he said he was. They are smart people with tech. So i decided to play stupid, and start collecting info. Roll on a month suddenly urgent message said his accounts are blocked can you send gift card, I pretended i didnt know how to use technology... he wanted paypal, gift cards and bitcoin for $3600 because someone set him up!! Im old school give me the correct home address, bank details and ID Ill help you but not financially to someone ive never met in person. . The address he gave me was for a theater! (Clearly never heard of google maps) None of this was forthcoming.

However he sent a screen shot of his paypal which has account details too! It showed the address it showed in PHP, which isnt USD! Also then gave a different account to pay into with a photo of another dude on it and contact details + people who had paid to his friends account...

I contacted paypal, linked in, facebook and twitter. Sadly the automated systems from these companies are not helpful and dont block users, so i decided to go above and beyond, called them all directly. . I have got 5 accounts blocked, all money refunded from paypal to anyone who paid into those accounts as well. So if they ask for large amounts just block them and report. If you feel you must pay something then only $1.00 or something and then contact paypal immediately and DO NOT send as friends and family. but mark the transaction as $100 loan it buys you time to report them and get them shut down.

Unbeknown to this person i have a technical background and understand how these things work, so they chose the wrong person. I tracked and traced everything.

If someone you never met asks for money, NEVER give them it. regardless of the story. Its emotional blackmail and they use a lot of reverse psychology. I spent 2 months knowing this person was a scammer, and they were none the wiser, by talking to me it means one less person was being conned.. If you want to help someone who is in trouble tell them you will send them groceries, ask for their bank details, ID and home address. Check it out before parting with even groceries. NEVER give gift cards bitcoin or paypal transactions.

Also it seems he found me by connecting with colleagues of mine on linked in.. All his profile as female users i later discovered.

Funny part this dude is still none the wiser Ive pretty much managed to get their scam payment methods closed down so there will be a few desperate scammers right now as they have lost $$$$$ :) They pray on the lonely and if you have some emotional background.

Photos of me they have are actually very photoshopped ones of Barbie! Whilst Covid restrictions are on more of these oxygen thief's will be in operation praying on the vulnerable.

Always ask for a video call. Put a name to a face, ask for ID including work emails, home addresses before you meet up etc.. Most of all if it seems strange block and walk away.

Im gutted as was hoping to have met Mr right.. oh well im sure there is a decent gent out there somewhere.

I hope my experience helps others.

I keep getting hit up by these scammers, and don't know how to put my foot down, with them. I'm 47 and disabled, looking for real love. The only problem is that the scammers are absolutely everywhere. Can someone please help me?

Well I had got about $400 worth then ask to another $400 worth but I not get course I was told it a scam.

Hi, i'm from Philippines, i really need to know if what's going on here because i really felt something's fishy.
There is this guys from internet who are finding some sugar baby, then get paid agter doing their task, after i gave my Account numbers, he said, i need a Voucher 2200 from steam Wallet so that the transaction from Chicago will be transferred here in Philippines, my account. I really sense that there is something wrong that is going here. Can someone please message me

+2348162178355 this number tries me to load from ph currency and he tells me a out to load and i can received the money he sent me about 2000 euros.. for may be able to understand please guide me on how to know if it's fraud.. thanks to the team..

I want to trade my card

My boyfriend in the army and has asked me to get a£100 steam gift card everyweek so he can play games on his I phone. Would you use all that in a week

.I recently bought 2 gift cards from walmart . They were steam. I didn't take no pictures of and did not send thembut i did purchase them anyway i was being hacked at this time still what i am trying to ask can i bring them back to where i got them o have the receipt for them. Will they take them back .who do i call to get my money back. They have gotten into alotof my accts. Can i help me please ?

I have had this twice. From guys fro USA - want me to buy them a Walmart card for 100 dollars. They start off with social chat and then ask.


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