Better Business Bureau: Avoiding Gift Card Scams
Whether you’re buying a gift card online or grabbing one off the shelf at a store, shop carefully to make sure you’re not falling for a scam. Troy Baker from the Better Business Bureau joined us on ‘the four’ today to talk about the new trends in gift card scams.
Gift cards have become a very large industry, with worldwide sales in the billions.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) finds that gift cards have also gained in popularity as a payment method for scammers over the last several years. For scams to be successful, crooks need a way to get money from victims. Using a variety of excuses, such as a threat of immediate arrest, scammers convince victims to buy the gift card as a payment method and ask for the numbers on the back of the cards. This enables scammers to quickly steal the money loaded on the cards.
Red flags to know and avoid gift card scams:
- Government agencies requesting payment. No government agency ever requests money through gift cards.
- Statements that buying gift cards is a safe way to make a payment. Providing the numbers for a gift card is like sending cash, and the money is rarely recoverable. Gift card payment requests are a big red flag for a scam.
- Keep the receipt when buying a gift card. Keep the physical card as well. These may help prove that the card was paid for and activated if problems arise later.
- Inspect the card carefully before buying it to be sure it has not been tampered with. Some scammers open the card to get the numbers on the back so that they can take the money when the card is later activated.
Other gift card scams include:
- Secret Shopper Jobs
- Tech Support
- Government Grants
- Romance Scams
- Purchase Scams
For more information about the Better Business Bureau, click here.
You can report scams to BBB.org/ScamTracker.