It’s a sad fact of life that there are people out there who are trying to scam, defraud and steal to make a quick buck. One of the more prevalent types of scams out there that you might encounter is the gift card scam. There are a few varieties, but they all share one thing in common: they’re scams involving gift cards that are trying to separate you from your money. Here’s what to look out for.
Gift Card Scams
A common form of gift card scam is a bit of a complex crime, but here’s the basics. What the grifter in question will do is peel off the film that covers the gift card’s code, and then store that information on a computer server. They will then use a hacking program to spy on the retailers site so they can be informed when the gift card in question is purchased. This allows them to spend the funds before you can.
In order to avoid this scam, don’t buy any physical gift cards that appear to have been tampered with. You could also choose to buy gift cards that are hanging from the back of a display rack, instead of the ones near the front. It’s less likely a grifter has stolen a card’s identifying number if it was on the back of the rack.
Cheap Goods Scam
Another common gift card scam is the “cheap goods” scam. A seller will post great prices on items through a service like Craigslist or eBay, and will ask for payment in the form of a gift card. Usually this is in the form of a Visa Gift Card, but it could be any type. Once you send them the card’s info, their account, the goods and the funds on the card all vanish. They simply wanted the gift card’s info to steal the money off of it from you.
Other types of scams often ask for payment via gift card. Many common phone scams and tech support scams will ask that you pay them in the form of a gift card. Ignore these requests: anyone asking you to pay via a gift card is a fraudster, and you should avoid any dealings with them. They’ll simply vanish with the money.