By American Express
4 Min Read | June 14, 2021 in Money
Gift card scams are a common type of crime that aims to trick people into buying gift cards and revealing their codes so that scammers can steal money from the cards.
Basic precautions can help you to spot many gift card scams and take steps to avoid them.
As a Card Member, your protection is American Express’ utmost concern. Gift card scams have been on the rise in recent years. The following tips and resources can help you keep safe from possible future scams.
Gift Cards are a popular form of payment requested by scammers, so it’s worth being extra careful if someone you don’t know offers to pay you for buying a gift card in any context. Scammers use different tactics to get victims to fall for their schemes. In some cases, they can be friendly, sympathetic and seem willing to help. In others, they use fear tactics to persuade a victim. Typically, scammers disguise themselves as a reputable company or family member and request payment in the form of gift cards.
Important: Neither the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) nor any other government agency will ever request payment over the phone in the form of a gift card. These agencies have said so in their own warnings against scammers.
Being aware of the following facts and ways of dealing with possible fraudulent situations can help you avoid falling for a gift card scam:
The most common types of scams will target you through fake emails, text messages, voice calls, letters, or even someone who shows up at your front door unexpectedly. No matter which technique the scammer uses, you may be:
Common scams include requests related to lotteries, taxes, a new job, and helping someone in need. The sophistication of some gift card scams may be surprising. Here are details of four popular gift card scams:
There are many different ways scam artists will try to trick you into turning over valuable gift cards to them. Gift card scams have become increasingly sophisticated and convincing in recent years, using the latest technologies to learn facts about people that help them sound legitimate. Being extra careful and following the tips explained above can help keep your gift cards safe from scammers. If you authorize a transaction or send money to a scammer, there’s often little American Express – or anyone else – can do to help get your money back. However, the asset recovery team at the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center is sometimes able to recover at least some funds, so this is a good place to report gift card scams as well. Simply go to ic3.gov.