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Gift cards are for gifts, not to pay bills, taxes, and fines, or help relatives in trouble

Giftcards Are for Gifts not Paying for Bills-1Scams are terrible, especially during the holidays. But scammers are out there every day, searching for their next victim.

Scammers will ask you to pay with gift cards. Why? Because they’re like cash: once you use a gift card, the money is gone.

A scammer may say they’re from a government agency and you need to pay taxes or a fine immediately. They may pretend to be a family member or friend in a bind who needs money right now. Or, they may say you’re a prize winner. However, there are fees or charges you need to pay.

The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips to help you determine if you’re dealing with a scammer:

  • The caller says it’s urgent. They say you need to pay immediately or something awful will happen.
  • The caller tells you which gift card to buy. They might tell you to put money on a Google Play, Target, or iTunes gift card – or send you to a store such as Walmart, Target, or CVS. They may also tell you to buy cards at several stores, so cashiers won’t get suspicious.
  • The caller asks you for the gift card number and PIN. The scammer uses that information to get the money you’ve put on the card.

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, let the company that issued the card know right away. Keep the card and any receipts. Then report the theft to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Happy holidays and don’t let a gift card scam happen to you.

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