(NEW YORK) — With holiday shopping in full swing, the Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers about gift card scams.
The FTC said consumers are set to spend $28 billion on gift cards this season. But with that, scammers are coming up with schemes to rip off the unwary.
There are many ways that consumers can fall victim to these scams, but the most common way is through phone calls from people claiming they’re with the government or tech support. They often say something is wrong with your computer or that you’ve won a prize or owe taxes.
They’ll say that you’ll have to pay those “taxes” using a gift card, according to the FTC website, but once you hand over that gift card information, they get your money and your pin number. Handing this information over should already be a red flag, but the process can often be convincing.
To help bring awareness about these scams, Scam Spotter, a platform created by Cybercrime Support Network, created a new awareness campaign to highlight the most common gift card scam scenarios via a series of videos.
If you come across one of these calls, the FTC said you should remember that gift cards are gifts and should never be used as payment methods.
Here is another similar scam to avoid:
Free gift card scam
These are usually offered in the form of emails. You might receive an email in your inbox from what looks like a legitimate company, offering you a free gift card, or it might come in the form of a pop-up ad or text message.
It will ask you to give them information about yourself, but what they are trying to do is get your personal data and you will never get the gift card, according to the Better Business Bureau.
You can avoid this type of scam by not clicking on unsolicited emails. The Better Business Bureau said if you get an unsolicited email offering you a gift card, do not open it, just mark it as spam.
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