Gift Card Scam Alert
Can’t decide on what to get for your loved one? Gift cards are quite popular and convenient present for people who want to give someone a gift. They are also popular with scammers who always are on outlook to steal money from you. That is because gift cards are treated like cash – if you buy a gift card and someone uses it, then it is gone forever. Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always a scammer.
According to ACCC’s Scamwatch, the scam is on the rise again that the gift cards are preferred payment method of choice for scammers. It is easy for them to receive gift cards as payments and to sell on secondary pockets to pocket the cash.
Scamwatch also reported that more than $5 million was lost in 2018 due to this type of scam.
There are several common types of scams involving gift cards:
- ATO impersonation scams – The scammer pretends to be from the Australian Taxation Office and claims there is a warrant for the victim’s arrest. The scammer asks the victim to pay an immediate ‘fine’ using gift cards or bitcoin, and claims police will arrest them if they don’t pay up.
- Catch a hacker scam – The scammer calls and pretends to be from a law enforcement agency or internet provider and convinces the victim they are trying to trace the location of a hacker who has compromised the victim’s computer. They claim they can do this by sending money from the victim’s bank account or via gift card serial numbers.
- Surveys – Victims are also tricked into giving personal details with the promise of gift cards. Scammers entice victims to participate in surveys by promising gift cards as a prize, however, the surveys extract personal information such as name, date of birth, address details and even financial details such as credit card or bank account numbers.
“No government department or reputable business will ever ask you to pay in cryptocurrency or gift cards,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Richard.
You need to watch out of anything that asks for a gift card as a payment or for rewards. Remember gift cards are for gifts, not payments. If in doubt, call the organisation back through its official number to check – the phone number can be on your bill or go to the official website.
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Written by The Original PC Doctor on 22/9/2020.