Gift Card Scams


Gift cards are some of the most common tools for impostors. A lot of cases about cheating done through Amazon or any other Gift Cards are reported now a days. First, gift cards are unidentified and basically undetectable. Each gift card is like digital cash, with no permanently linked account information that could tie it to one individual. It’s also easy to change gift cards into goods or even back into cash. Valid gift card holders can shop with their cards or sell them at a discount online. Criminals can buy goods for exchange.

Modus Operandi:

In these types of crimes, the victims receive an unexpected/unsolicited email or text message from their boss or a leader in an organization they are working in, requesting that you purchase Amazon Gift Cards and send the cards or the claim codes to that person or some other person. Typically, the message will say that the gift cards will be used for some purpose within the company/organization (e.g., employee incentives, client appreciation, charitable donations) or some other purpose i.e. Covid-19 welfare, etc. The scammer may claim they are out of town, in a conference call, or otherwise engaged and that is why they need you to make the purchase for them. Once the victims send the purchased gift cards or claim codes to the accused persons account then the accused person/scammers redeems those gift cards by purchasing any item from Amazon or can resale those gift cards to some other person by giving some discount.

Safety Precautions:

1. If you receive an email asking for money or other assistance, carefully check that it’s being sent from the correct email address of someone you know. Scammers will often have an address that looks accurate but is one or two letters off. If it’s a call requesting help for someone in financial trouble, hang up and call that person to check if it’s a real situation.

2. If the other person is trying to rush through and asking you to act urgently, it is a tell-tale sign of a fraudulent activity. Be cautious and verify the credentials of the email sender or the caller before making any transaction.

3. If the person on the other side claims to be indisposed and inaccessible due to any reason – in a conference; in a foreign country, in a hospital, etc. – it may be a trick to prevent you from cross-verifying the fraudster’s claims. Do not believe the concocted story and contact the sender through known, verified contact channels to verify the email/call’s content.

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