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Did someone tell you to pay with gift cards? It’s a scam

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Maybe someone said you’ve won the lottery, a prize or sweepstakes. Or they claim to be from the government and tell you there’s a problem with your Social Security number. And, to collect your winnings or solve your problem, you have to pay with gift cards. But here’s the thing: anyone who insists that you pay by gift card is always a scammer.

Learn more by watching this video about how to avoid gift card scams and how to report them.

Also, read more about paying scammers with gift cards to be sure you know how to avoid traps.

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, tell the company that issued the card right away. When you contact the company, tell them the gift card was used in a scam. And then report it to the FTC. Remember to keep the gift card itself and the gift card receipt, and, have them available when you contact the company and the FTC.

To stay up to date on scams that could affect your community, sign up for the FTC’s Consumer Alerts.


Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


One step worse! I received an email from my aunt (using her legitimate email address) saying she was out of town and forgot it was her nephew's birthday. She asked me to buy a $300.00 gift card for him. I, of course, said "Sure". But, when I asked her where to send it she told me not to. She told me to scratch off the code # at the back of the card and email it to her. It was then that I caught on that this was NOT my aunt. The emailed instructions were not signed in the way she usually signs her emails to me. So, I played along. Pretended I purchased the gift card and then they gave me a different email address to send the "code" to. I turned them in to the authorities. I also notified my aunt that an ID thief had hijacked her email address and to contact her ISP!

Initial contact was simply a comment to an Insta post. A well-known sportsperson's Telegram contact details - available in more than one place - appear to have been stolen and used. After 3 days of occasional messaging using the above, the tone suddenly changed and I was asked to go out and get an iTunes or Steam card for [this person's] daughter's phone game upgrade. I did some research on Google and discovered previous reports about such scams. I responded accordingly and have (thankfully) heard nothing since.

How does somebody get your gift card off of your phone

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