Many people do not know that gift card scams are a common occurrence. They also don’t know what gift card scams are and the key indicators on how to spot them.
At Voucher Express, we think it is important to increase awareness on gift card scams to help reduce the number of unsuspecting customers being targeted and becoming victims to this fraudulent activity.
What are Gift Card scams?
Simply put, a gift card scam is where a scammer convinces a victim to purchase a gift card. The victim then sends the scammer the card’s details such as the Gift Card number and the pin code.
The Gift Card number, which is the long card number can vary in length depending on the retailer, but it is typically between 16 and 19 numbers long. Some retailers have alpha numeric Gift Card numbers, where it includes a mix of letters and numbers.
The pin code is usually 3 to 4 digits long, and is used to verify the gift card.
Why are Gift Card scams popular?
When a gift card is purchased, the funds that are on the gift card are just like cash and have fewer protection methods compared to other electronic payment types. Once the gift card is redeemed, and the funds are gone, it cannot be returned.
Common examples of gift card scams
1. A Fake Giveaway
A scammer sets up a fake giveaway or opportunity. When contacted by a victim about the giveaway or opportunity, the scammer will promise a large amount of money, or a chance to win the prize. However, in order to proceed with the giveaway or ‘investment’, the scammer will need a small contribution from the victim, or a way to verify the victim’s identity.
To contribute to the ‘investment’ or to verify their identity, the scammer will ask the victim to purchase a gift card. The victim will purchase a gift card, send the card’s details on to the scammer. The scammer will vanish with the card details and the victim will never receive their promised investment or prize money.
2. Romance scams
A scammer will create fake social media profile and target a victim by pretending to be romantically interested in them.
Once the victim is convinced that the scammer is genuinely romantically interested, the scammer will ask the victim to purchase a gift card to solve their money troubles.
Much like the above scenario, the victim sends them the gift card details and the scammer disappears with the funds.
The most identifiable indicator in any gift card scam is when the victim buys a gift card as a form of payment. These are just some of the scenarios where a gift card scam can happen. So, let’s move onto how you can spot them.
Spotting a gift card scam
Before replying to the any opportunity or message, we recommend that you take caution and consider the authenticity of the requestion.
1. Promise of a large pay out
If the opportunity promises a large pay out, especially in the case with investment opportunities, then this is a strong indicator of a scam.
2. Gift cards as payment method
Another strong indicator of a gift card scam is if anyone asks for gift cards as a payment method. Gift cards offer less protection than other payment methods like credit card, Paypal. So, this is why scammers rely on gift cards.
3. Bad grammar and spelling
Messages and communication may contain spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. This can be a sign that the message is ingenuine and may not be trustworthy.
We recommend that you approach messages and opportunities like this with caution, and understand that if it feels like it is too good to be true, it usually is.
We hope that this article has given you a more in-depth insight into gift card scams and made you more vigilant and cautious when exposed to these fraudulent scenarios. Unfortunately, these scams continue to happen, but you can take action to prevent you and your loved ones becoming a victim, by sharing this knowledge and spreading awareness.