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FTC Warns Against Giving Out Gift Card Numbers

man purchasing white roses with a gift card

Gift cards are nice. Essentially, you’re giving a person the chance to go out and buy exactly what they want. How could it go wrong? One word: Scammers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning to consumers to be on the lookout for anyone asking for gift card information, or requesting gift cards from companies such as Target, Apple, eBay, and Walmart in exchange for payment of a fake debt or other scams.

Here are some of the more prominent tips to help you avoid these ongoing and alarming crimes.

Don’t Give Out Gift Card Information: The FTC is warning people to keep gift card information private to avoid losing the gift card balance and other personal information. Even sharing some of the numbers on the back of the card can give criminals access to the funds on the card.

Don’t Send Gift Cards to Anyone You Don’t Know: Criminals have been known to call people pretending to be from the IRS, police, or other government agency demanding money for an unpaid violation or unmet obligation/debt. These are scams. Nobody from the IRS, law enforcement, or other agency will ask for money over the phone, nor will they request the funds be sent by gift cards.

Don’t Send Gift Cards in Exchange for Cash, Winnings, or Love: Scammers pretending to represent a lottery or an employer’s human resources department will ask you to send them gift cards and promise to put the money in your credit union account. A false love interest will ask you to send gift cards to help them with travel expenses or bills. They ask for gift cards because they are difficult to trace. Don’t fall for this scam. Just hang up or stop the online conversation.