Ways to Avoid Gift Card Scams
A gift card scam is a scam that involves the use of gift cards/gift vouchers. Gift card scams are on the rise due to the widespread usage of gift cards. Another cause for the high amount of scams is the number of low-security measures put in place by gift card vendors to protect the users.
This article aims to inform readers of some of the ways to avoid gift card scams. It is discovered that lack of information makes people susceptible to scams. Hence, we will explain some common gift card scams and how to avoid them.
1) Don’t pay attention to people asking you to pay with Gift Cards
It is one of the oldest and traditional gift card scams. The scammer impersonates a government official or a tax representative then they make threats to the gift card user. Such conversations may proceed like this;
Scammer: Am I speaking to Mr. A of Albuquerque County (The scammers may get your information from a local directory)
Mr. A: Yes, this is me. How may I help you?
Scammer: I am calling from the Sheriff’s Office. I want to remind you about your unpaid parking tickets that have hit $200; failure to pay before tomorrow’s end will mean a visit to the court.
Mr. A may or may not have such financial obligations but can be distraught because the call seems legitimate.
The scammer goes on, “you can avoid the court date by sending an Amazon gift card of $200 to this email. The gift card will be used to settle your debts”.
IT IS A SCAM! No representative of the government will ask you for a gift card as payment. To avoid this kind of scam, hang the phone immediately they ask for a gift card payment. These scammers may try to be convincing; thus, just cut the phone immediately gift card is mentioned in the conversation.
Another way this kind of scam can happen is people impersonating customer care representatives of companies. When they offer services, they begin to ask for payment in gift cards. Always remember that no company’s support staff will ask for payment in gift cards.
No corporate organization will ever call you to ask for gift card payments. No organization will call you to send gift cards to be part of a raffle draw or claim your prize.
2) Don’t Buy if it Looks Tampered with
One way people carry out gift card scams is by tampering with unsold gift cards in stores. The ways scammers tamper with gift cards include;
– Scratching off the pin and replacing it with a sticker. Gift card vendors don’t use stickers to cover the pin.
– If the card looks old or bent, it has been tampered with.
If the gift card looks tampered with in ANY WAY, do not buy it.
3) Do not input the Gift Card details on random websites
To use a gift card, you need to activate it on a website. Another type of gift card scam is the use of phishing websites. These websites have similar looks to the original activation website thus are used to deceive users.
Phishing websites are fake websites used to harvest gift card details from unsuspecting users. To avoid this scam, do not input the details of your gift card on any site except the one on the gift card. Type in the website yourself on the browser, do not rely on search engines to give you the correct activation website.
4) Don’t look for a gift card discount
When a gift card is about to be sold at a value lower than face value, there is a high probability of a scam. There is a chance the seller is attempting to sell a card that has already been used. To avoid this kind of scam, do not search for discounts when you buy gift cards.
Other Precautions to Take
– Do not call out your gift card details in the presence of a third party. It is another form of gift card scam. When a fake buyer asks you to confirm the balance of the gift card, they may record the touch-tone when you input the gift card details. If they ask you to call out the details of the gift card; it is a red flag.
– People asking for gift cards on dating sites. It is a very common gift card scam technique.
– People pretending to be long-distance family or friends asking for gift cards.
If you suspect a scam, you should report it to the law enforcement agents around. Do not go ahead with it to verify if it is a scam. Also, if you have been scammed, you can rectify the situation by contacting the issuing company.
Keep the receipt of your gift card; there are important details on the receipt that you may need in the future.