In our last installment of the naughty list of scams in 2021, we’re covering gift card scam calls. According to our 2021 Holiday Scam Report, gift card scam calls rank as the most common type of scam during the holiday season – more than charity calls and online orders/delivery. In fact, nearly 1 in 3 people report getting a call about gift cards (or a prize). Even worse, over 40% of people say they’ve become the victim of some form of scam call.
Why are gift card scam calls a big deal? First, they are the most common type of call reported. Second, consumers have lost $148 million in gift card scams in the first three quarters of 2021. Learn more about gift card scams below.
Gift Card Scam Calls
Here’s an example of how gift card scam calls work according to the FTC.
A caller says there’s an urgent, unresolved issue and you must act immediately. They may pose as a government agency, saying that you’re facing a fine; others have posed as tech support, saying something is wrong with your computer or device. In order to fix the problem, you’ll have to pay them right away. The scammers may tell you which gift cards to buy and the amount.
The scammers may ask you to stay on the phone the whole time or to text images of the purchased cards. Once you buy the cards, you give them the gift card number and PIN. They will then redeem the card and access the money you loaded on it.
These types of schemes aren’t new, either. A few years ago we learned scammers were coercing people to buy iTunes gift cards; they would then resell the cards in exchange for cash.
Why Gift Cards?
Gift cards are convenient to buy and have fewer protections than credit or debit cards. Once the money is on the gift card, scammers can redeem them without the funds being easily traceable.
Naughty List of Holiday Scams
In addition to gift card scam calls, people have also reported a couple of other significant rackets.
Just below gift cards on the holiday scam call list, fraudulent calls about donations and charities have also put a damper on the holiday spirit; just when people are feeling their most generous, bad actors are looking to take advantage.
Then there are calls about Amazon and package deliveries. Scammers are looking for payments to “speed up shipping” or correct delivery issues that don’t exist.
2021 Holiday Scams
Download our FREE 2021 Holiday Scam Report today to get the full holiday scam story.