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The Worst Gift Card Scams Explained and how you can avoid them

Gift Card scams now rank as one of the most common financial scams. In this post we will see five of the biggest Gift Card scams and how to protect your money.

gift card scams

Gift Card scams happen more often than you might think. About One in Four Americans that lost money to fraud over the last few years, specifically lost Gift Card money and that's according to the FTC. Now since 2018, Gift Card scams have cost victims a whopping $840 on average and they netted scammers nearly $245 million dollars. Scammers love Gift Cards because they're untraceable and once they have the money it's nearly impossible to recover. So how do the fraudsters do it?

Fraud Trick #1: Posing as Government or IRS Official

Well the top trick is posing as a government official like a tax collector. Because let's face it, when the IRS personally reaches out to us, we tend to listen and scammers know this very very well. So they pretend to be uncle Sam claiming that you owe the government money and that you can settle your debt by handing over your Gift Card digits. But no, that the IRS will never email or text you like a lot of these scammers do.

The IRS works through the post office. Your notices come through the mail, not by phone.

The FTC says other times scammers may pose as government officials saying that you have been accused of a crime and you need to buy so-called electronic vouchers or risk getting arrested,pretty scary. Sometimes they may even threaten to cancel your Social Security Number or offer to give you a new one because your current one has been hacked. These are all fake of course, but if you get a message like that; delete and block it immediately.

Also Read: The 5G BioshieldUSB Stick Scam Explained

Fraud Trick #2: Friend or Family Emergency

Next if you get a message via email, social media or text saying a loved one is in dire financial need, needs bail money or has racked up debt and the only way that you can help them is by sending along your Gift Card number, that is a red flag. Using a fake family or friend emergency is top trick number two. Never send any kind of money before verifying with this particular family member or friend directly.

Fraud Trick #3: Posing as a Retailer Offering Deals

Gift Card scammers acting like legitimate Business owners and reaching out to consumers offering deals and promos on hot gadgets and televisions. If of course they pay with a Gift Card. Now in this case the scammers may ask for a specific Gift Card and Can you guess what is the number one Gift Card fraudsters request victims to pay with this time of year? It's not Apple, not Walmart, not Amazon, it is Ebay. But let's be real, no legitimate business will ever ask you to pay for anything with a Gift Card and if they do that is a surefire red flag.

Also Read: The Bitcoin Blackmail Scam Explained and How to Protect Yourself

Fraud Trick #4: Posing as Tech Support

Now going down the list to the next way scammers have been quite successful at stealing our Gift Card dollars posing as tech support. Now this scam technique usually comes in the form of a phone call or a text message from a person claiming to be from a tech company like Microsoft warning you about a technical virus or some other issue. They'll offer to repair the problem which of course doesn't really exist and they'll do it for a fee and guess what? They usually ask for Gift Cards as payment.

gift card scams that happen 2022

Other tech support scams offer a refund because their service is shutting down and then trick you into thinking that they deposited a shocking amount of money into your bank account and the only way to give them their money back of course is with a Gift Card.

Fraud Trick #5: Romance Scams

Finally be extra careful swiping on those dating apps. Gift Card thieves may be hanging out there as well. So-called romance scams are the fifth most popular type of Gift Card fraud. Scammers will start conversations with you and just as they're establishing a little trust, some friendliness, they ask you to send over your Gift Card money and this person I'm telling you is not dating material.

Also Read: Google know more about you than you know about yourself!


If you experience any of this, it's important to report it all to related parties. Whether that's the IRS, a retailer, an app or a social media platform where these fraudsters are now lurking and as always let the FTC know so they can investigate and help stop more crimes and you can do that at

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