Scammers in the present day sometimes take gift cards for payment which can take people by surprise if they are unaware of the tactic, according to a BBB press release on Nov. 16. Research from the BBB shows the use of gift cards as a form of payment in 2023 has risen by 50% from the same time period recorded in 2022.
“Scammers have doubled down on gift cards as a method to steal money from consumers – especially online shoppers – leading retailers to implement new fraud prevention solutions in response,” the BBB report said.
The BBB report recommends keeping an eye out for several activities which may be setting you up to be scammed:
- Online sellers, businesses or government entities asking for gift cards to be used as payment.
- Cold calls on overdue tax payments.
- High-pressure scams dealing with legal problems.
- Requests for payment related to services or items with unrelated gift cards.
- People asking for a number or PIN over the phone or through email.
- Promises for reimbursement via check.
- Messages from a superior at work asking for gift card purchases.
The BBB said scammers will ask you to buy gift cards before providing them with the numbers on the back of the card which let the scammers quickly obtain the cash stored on the cards. With the money in hand, the scammer leaves.
To keep up to date on the latest scam methods being used and report scams you’ve encountered, you can check out the BBB Scam Tracker or go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website. Additionally, if you think you have been the victim of identity theft or scams, you can reach out to the Kansas Office of the Attorney General for help.