You are here

Scammers demand gift cards

Share this page

Gift cards are a great way to give a gift. But did you know they are also a scammer’s favorite way to steal money? According to the FTC’s new Data Spotlight, more scammers are demanding payment with a gift card than ever before – a whopping 270 percent increase since 2015.Gift cards and reload cards are the #1 payment method for imposter scams. More scammers are demanding payment with a gift card. The percentage of consumers who told the FTC they paid a scammer with a gift card has increased 270% since 2015. Reports to the FTC say scammers are telling people to buy gift cards at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS and other retail shops. 42% of people who paid a scammer with a gift card used iTunes or Google Play. Federal Trade Commission. ftc.gov/complaint. ftc.gov/giftcards

Gift cards are for gifts, not for payments. If someone calls with urgent news or a convincing story and then pressures you to pay them by buying a gift card, like an iTunes or Google Play card, and then giving them the codes on the back of the card – stop. It’s a scam.

Gift cards are the number one payment method that imposters demand. They might pose as IRS officials and say you’re in trouble for not paying taxes; or a family member with an emergency; or a public utility company threatening to shut off your water; or even a servicemember selling something before deployment. Or they might call with great news – you’ve won a contest or a prize! But to get it, you need to pay fees with a gift card. Scammers will say anything to get your money. And they know how to play into your fears, hopes, or sympathies. They like gift cards because, once they’ve got the code on the back, the money is gone and almost impossible to trace. But knowing how these scams work can help you avoid them, and you can help even more by passing on the information to people you know.

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, report it as soon as possible. Call the card company and tell them the gift card was used in a scam. Here is contact information for some of the gift card companies that scammers use most often. Then, tell the FTC about it – or any other scam – at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports may help law enforcement agencies launch investigations that could stop imposters and other fraudsters in their tracks.

Report Scams

Amazon

  • Call 1 (888) 280-4331
  • Learn about about Amazon gift card scams here.

Google Play

  • Call 1 (855) 466-4438
  • Report gift card scams online here.
  • Learn about Google Play gift card scams here.

iTunes

  • Call 1 (800) 275-2273 then press “6” for other, then say “operator” to be connected to a live representative.
  • Learn about iTunes gift card scams and how to report them here.

Steam

  • If you have a Steam account, you can report gift card scams online here.
  • Learn about Steam gift card scams here.

MoneyPak

  • Call 1 (866) 795-7969
  • Report a MoneyPak card scam online here.
Tagged with: gift cards, imposter, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I'm in contact with the oil rig guy. He's very good, I question whether hes scamming too, he sent pics, I did a reverse photo image search, he's taking pics off a guy from Isreals Facebook page. But he has us married and living in Ireland. Just as long as I send Google Play cards, WTH!!!

I jusg met a guy that says he works on a oil rig also! Right
claims hes inNorway! Cant have any calls or videos
Calls..could cause an explosion..but is running out of data..wants me to purchase a google hang out card for him and just take a pic of it. And show him and he can load it..because he loves me so deeply and doesnt want to loose contact with me..even though weve only talked for 3 days..met on instegraham..and he suggested this site..saysi ts more secure..says im his shinning starr and all he has in this world ..wants to marrg me. Wanted a $ 2oo card ..I screamed no way so he will settle for $ 100 or $50..proclaims to be a forman on a oil rig- Thomas forman..

I had an oil rig marine engineer (at least that's what he said) allegedly out in the Indian Ocean so couldn't use cell phone or video feature on Hangouts due to Pirates. He had a good line and was very sweet and kind until I wouldn't send him iTune gift cards...he became rude and demanding and wouldn't talk with me after that. I got suckered into the romance, however. He was intelligent and said his first language was German but he had lived in the UK since age 19 (after both parents were killed in a car crash). He said his wife had been a doctor but died 6 years ago and he had a 17 year old daughter in an English boarding school. He even had the daughter email me...she had very poor English and she obviously spoke another language but she said her only language was English. Anyway, the scam is interesting...I'm curious how the scammers can manipulate and mesmerize intelligent women! I'm glad I didn't send him anything...but my heart is a bit broken. Interesting how the heart and mind aren't always aligned with one another!

I was contacted by some one on a dating website. After talking to the man for 4 days. Asked me to get him an Amazon gift card. Online and from walmart. Demanding it right now. The man's phone number is Calif. This person is a scammer.

After talking to a man online dating service for 4 days. Today he demand a Amazon gift card. As it was urgent wanted to buy things on thr card. He said that he didnt get paid. Told me that he would pay me back. By the way this man has a foreign accent on the phone. This guy is an scammer. Never get a gift card. I didnt get one and wont get one. As i wont be scammed by him. Once you put money on the card. It is gone. Can only use it at stores.

Yes met someone on Pacer then it went to hangouts been texting for 2 months now all was Okay until he asked for iTunes card said he had no internet on his phone also working on Oil Rig since I said no deal for iTunes card our conversation are short May he found a better sucker!

I was a victim of this scan today and didn't know about the gift card approach. It was a representative masking the call from Apple, Inc., that included technical support. I feel so foolish for falling into this trap!

I feel so stupid that I fell for this scam. My conscience told me it was wrong but like other people, he told me to stay on the phone while I purchased the cards. I gave the numbers off the back and he told me they didn't work and asked me to go and buy two more cards. I screamed at him that I would NOT buy more cards and hung up on him. By then, it was too late. I am out $200 but it could have been worse. I am so mad at myself for falling for this.

I got scammed out of $1,500 yesterday. Call was supposedly from Apple support about a security breach. Someone must have dipped me in a vat of stupidity. Bought 3 GamePlay cards with American Express card. They will do nothing. Even though I reported it immediately. Today the first card was posted to my credit card. They referred to the Google Play card as a key needed to resolve my security issues which were a level 3. I’m so angry with myself and so embarrassed. It wasn’t until it was too late that I read all the Information about gift card scams.

I am a victim of these scams and for months been trying to stop them from continuing asking for more. When I tell them no they call my job over and over again. The other day they called my job 561 times. It is none stop until I purchase a gift card and send them the code. I don't know how to stop it. I have made complaints with the FTC, FBI and any gift card I have purchased, but it continues. I don't know what to do at this point.

My mother just fell for this scam two days ago. Since she was the one that bought the gift cards with her credit card, is there any way to get the money back, or is she out of luck?? Is there anything she can do? She's already reported the gift cards to Google Play, but this hasn't helped at all.

After you tell someone the codes from the back of the gift cards, they can take the value of the gift cards. After the value of the cards is used, you can't get it back.

After you tell someone the codes, you might be able to contact the company that issued the cards, and ask the company to prevent anyone from using the codes. But usually, when scammers get the codes, they use them immediately, before people can ask a company to block them. I think you're saying your mother tried to get card issuer to block the codes, but it didn't work.

He said he is going to send me money so I can come over to visit,first he was going to do it through western union but send me he can't do it because there is to much scammers,then he said I must buy a gift card of $50 but I didn't have money to buy it but then he said he will send me cash through FedEx,I received a mail that the package is on its way a day after the packaged arrived at Nigeria customs but I had to pay $200 because it was overweight I didn't pay the money but he is threatening me and I don't know if this a real deal or not

I was scammed after recieving money orders. I actually went to the FBI with them and they had nothing to report that it was a scam. So I cashed the money orders at CHASE bank and waited for them to clear, which they did, so I used the money to mystery shop and buy Amazon gift cards. 2 weeks later, Chase got back to me that they were fraudulent and that I owed them the money back and also charged me $12 each for the 6 money orders that were "returned" CHASE closed my checking account after being a good customer for over 25 years even after I showed them the reports I had filed with several Gov't agencies including the US Postal service. Banks should be held accountable for not verifying money orders when customers come in person to the bank.

I've been victim of a Amazon gift card scam last week Monday. It all started with an email that I got through work. I work at a university and the President's email had been compromised. The email stated she was tied up in a seminar and need me to get some gift card for the board.

The number one mistake was answering that email and giving my personal cell number. Because now the person impersonating the president started texting me with a list of instructions. I was told to buy two Amazon gift cards each valued at $500. I charged those cards on my Master Card. Then was persuaded to buy another card at $400. I used my Visa for that one. I was given instructions to take pics of the gift cards, receipts, and the code on back of the Amazon gift card and send it via MMS.
Well this person stated they were going to reimburse me once I got to the campus. They stated the board appreciates me helping them out with the task.

I got to work and went into the President's office and said I have the Amazon gift cards you requested. She looked at me like I was from another planet. That's when I realized that I was scammed out of $1400. I called Amazon to see if codes were redeemed and they had been. I had to call my bank to cancel credit cards. I then went to Milwaukee Police Department to file a report with them.

I wish the Walgreen's employee would've said something that it might be a scam. I was in a hurry and never took the time to process everything.

I just want to let people know don't feel stupid or a shame. Because these con artist do this for a living and know how to get you. I do agree that gift cards should be obsolete.

I did file an online complaint with the FTC and hopefully the data will be used. I can only hope KARMA will catch up to the person who scammed me out of my hard earned money.

I was scamped up until the very point of giving my gift cards over to the seller. I had a feeling to just do a little more research and then I learned to not pay with gift cards, but now what do I do with them. The merchant will not red fund the money and the store says deal with the merchant?! How do I get my cash back?

I was texted by my boss yesterday, apparently she was in a meeting and couldnt call, wanted to know of i was available to do her a favor. Could i go get a couple of Google Play giftcards for her.
Knowing my boss, i thought nothing of it, even notified my supervisor of my “errand”. Got to the local supermarket, texted back the card denominations as requested. To my suprise she wanted the $500 card, 2 of them. Once purchased, she wanted to know the code on the back. Which i supplied. She thanked me and asked if i could do 2 more, which i did, under the understanding i could expense the cost.
Again, i did as instructed. Then i was asked for a 3rd time, this was starting to pinch the budget, but i know she’s good for it. Same proceedure, purchase then report the code. Apparently im slow on the uptake. I was asked if i could do a 4th round and i replied no, and i was told it was really omportant, and could i “find the money somewhere”... then it hit me that it was all a scam. No way she’d ever request more than i could freely give. Called my bank, no help, called Google, no help, went to the store manager, ( which is what Google said to do) could not help. Filed FBI and local police report, but still out $3000. My boss was shocked when we finally made contact, and graciously refunded 1/2 of the loss out of the goodness of her heart. Stupid should hurt, so i accept the lesson, and will be more wary in the future. Be aware, ive seen emails, and phone calls trying this scam, but not texts coming from specific people. It was a perfect storm, A text from a known and trusted person, she was actually out of the office at a meeting and could not be reached, i actually had the funds available, and i was, at that moment available to perform an errand. Watch out!

Isn't is possible for the card companies to make bogus cards for scammers that look real? Why can't the companies offering gift cards help control these scammers. Can't the cards be tracked as far as purchases? Wouldn't the gift cars companies be willing to help curb this behavior?

I am the victim of a scam that said they were Apple Tech Support. I was instructed to buy Google Play cards to track the hackers if my iPad. Has anyone been able to get their money back. Looking for any advice.

Scammers using DirectTV with an EBAY promo code will get 50% off bill for the next 3 years with a pre payment of 4 months up front payment using EBAY gift cards, and then of course you never get what they sell. You lose all money on gift cards as soon as you scratch off number and read to them.

I just got an email from a Christina William saying that if I don’t settle an old debt at a reduced cost of course, I would be served by law enforcement. And, the kicker is they want me to use a Google debit card which solidified scam to me.

I thought I was calling customer service for Travelocity. I wanted to combine two flights. ok I know now that the call went to a call center, prob in India although the call back # showed Ariz. Anyway same as Sam 1212. But, I was thinking, on card #2, this is crazy for a rep to want to stay on line while you find Google play cards especially since they are not refundable. I didn't know what Google play was but now I have 2 cards for $500 and trying to reach Google. By the way so far can't reach Google. Try to report it to Expedia no one wanted to listen. Paid too much as ticket cost kept going up as I searched for the correct help

I have been scammed from people using amazon gift cards promising me money....I need this investigated immediately....

I want to know when my card was used

I purchased something online, was told that the cost would be $600. Then I was called and told that for first time purchases it must be paid through Google Play card, after that it can be with debit/credit card. I called to give the numbers from the cards and after a few minutes of being on hold, I was told that there had been an issue with shipping and that the package (that was already shipped according to him) had more items than I paid for and that they required an additional $500. I told him that I didn't have the extra $500 and that I would return the package. He states that he will stop the package if I do not pay the additional $500 and I would have to wait until a few more weeks for my package because a new one would have to be shipped out. I am sure I will never see what I purchased, nor will I eve see the $600.

Today i was a victim of a scam. I received a call allegedly from social security saying someone was using my social and was buy all sorts of stuff. That i had two options to admit and face 30 years of prison time or take out all my money and put into a google play card so they can track down who ever is using my social. Then i received a call from my local police station confirming this and so i did. I didn't give the person the numbers of the google play card because i realized what i was doing was weird. I then started to ask a bunch of questions and they said you are not complying with us and are admitting to the crime therefore we will have to go and arrest you and then clicked. So now i am stuck with a google play card with all my money in there and no way to get it back. I don't know what to do the rent is coming up. If anyone has any advice on how i can get my money back from the google play card let me know it will really help.

I bought a Google play card before I could use it it was already used and now Google play will not replace it and I feel it's very unfair I have been

Received a call from supposed DIRECTV promotion office. If you will pay four months payment as once ($79 per month), you will only pay $79 a month for the next 2 years. Since I pay $200 a month now...oh and he had my account number too, I said yes. He wanted me to go buy EBay gift cards worth $320 and then call the DIRECTV billing office (888-275-1951) with a promotion code he gave me. He did insist this was not a scam and his incoming phone number was 800-331-5000, Directv’s Number is 800-531-5000. I called DIRECTV as soon as he hung up and, of course, it was a scam. Thank goodness I checked before purchasing the gift cards! Be careful out there

I just received a check for $3050.00. Asking me to deposit it in my checking and then visit an apple store to perform secret shopper and buy 2 gift cards. I am so glad I looked up the company's name.

People come in my store everyday trying to buy gift cards related to scams. I always ask them. Do you know the person your sending the money to? Or ask them to think it thru, As in "why would you have to pay for _"____" with a gift card. Some people understand and won't buy. Others just buy the cards anyway. They look so scared. And all have the same response. " Its for my cousin" It breaks my heart to know that some of these people won't be able to pay bills and struggle to get by. I wish these companies would take the cards off the market. Especially Google Play and iTunes. No one uses these cards for a legit reason. There is no need for them. They are profiting off of the loss of others.

My boyfriend was contacted by someone on one of his social media apps. The person said they want to be his sugar daddy and they actually sent money and then asked for a $500 Amazon gift card. My boyfriend was thoroughly creeped out and the person became aggressive. Haven’t heard from him in 2 weeks and I hope it stays that way.

Have anyone heard of a company Accion Research. They send you a cashiers check and ask you to deposit it in your checking account. Once you withdraw the money they ask that you purchase eBay and Google play gift cards. Then peel off silver scratch off capture clear images front and back send pictures.

these scams are becoming prevelant in todays dating websites, personally i have never been scammed because i refuse to send them to someone i've never met in person, and many are from out of country now

Hello !! I had to seek for information because someone I was chatting with from a Game Of Thrones Facebook page is trying to get an Amazon card with 100 dls . Claims to be a widow with 3 kids one teenage girl and two twin boys . He erased his Facebook account prior to ask me for the card stating he is ill in the hospital and he needs the card for his kids school project ( summer break started ) also he won’t leave any real phone number and can’t find him in a background check . Be aware

My sister was scammed out of most of her bank account today. Two packages arrived to her house, that she did not order, with the labeling Prime on them. Somehow she retrieved a number, not sure how yet. She called the number and the scammer began to tell her that her Amazon account was compromised in multiple states. He then asked her to go get $100 Google play card and call him back with the numbers at which time he would send somebody to pick up the packages. He escalated his story and scammed her into getting multiple cards for him.

Got scammed today, was told that I had a warrant out for my arrest etc was in a bad state of mind and this just hit the peak and panicked and ended up doing the gift card payment realized it too late, unfortunately don't think I'll be getting my money back

Hi I guess I’m needing some advice some help what to say and do please somebody. I met a man 3 yrs ago and said he was in the military and his parents both died in a car accident and he needed someone to talk to and keep him going. I felt bad so we started talking. He started asking me to get him gift cards and had me pick money up from Walmart for his roommate. I don’t know anything about this kind of stuff so I helped him. After getting over $1,000 from me I went to my son broke down and told him what happened. I have been battling cancer on treatments that give you poor judgment and sometimes I didn’t even realize that I sent him anything but somehow he got into my account and wiped me out. I’m on disability and broke facing to much to add onto what I am dealing with and going through already. I with help from my upset son somehow was able to block him from contacting me and asked me not to send money or cards to anyone ever again. I have a new phone and same number he’s trying to talk to me right now asking for some kind of Vanilla card and a Steam card. He’s been very pushy with his messages telling me I need to hurry up and get him some numbers cause he’s in the hospital got shot and he has to pay the hospital for pain medicine or he doesn’t get any and he’s suffering. I don’t know how to get him to go away and I don’t want to have to go to my son again. I was also called saying I had a warrant for my arrest and needed to give my bank information to pay them or the police was on there way to arrest me and take me to jail. They also told me that my Disability was being revoked because of having a criminal record now and if I didn’t want to lose everything I had to give my information so they could get payment. My son came running over cause I sent him a text saying they said I was going to jail and I had a warrant. I’ve never been in trouble so my son rushes over in record time and I’m in tears but when he gets on the phone and says something to him my son yelled and hung up the phone. We called the police and told them what happened but they did nothing about it. Now this George Johnson in the military is hounding me for money. How do I get all this to stop before I make a mistake?? Please someone if you can help me I’d appreciate it and would be so grateful!!!

When someone harasses you and threatens you over the phone, you can take steps to protect yourself. You could ask your son if there's a way to block certain phone numbers from ringing on your phone. You could call your phone service and tell them about the threatening calls and ask for help.

You could ask someone at the bank to help you protect your accounts.

You don't have to answer the phone when it rings. You can let people leave a message and call them back later when you feel ready. Scammers act really pushy and threaten people and try to make them act right now. They make up stories and try to make people feel bad for them. You can take steps to protect your money, and stop hearing the threats and harassment.

If you need more ideas, write to us again.

I was involved in a scam few months ago sending cards through for a crude oil company..

The newest approach is the scammer gets access to organization web sites, goes through the board members list either through it being posted on the club web site or via a club newsletter. They pretend to be the president of that club and send emails to it's board members, using proper first names. They ask for help, usually saying they are really in a time crunch but have to get some gift cards as donations for a club event, and they want you to do it because they don't have the time to get to it. Be very aware of the email address they are sending from. It will be different than the actual email address from said real person.

Pages

Leave a Comment