February 24, 2024

It’s common to hear stories about various financial scams and assume that they would never happen to you. But unfortunately, there’s a fair chance that at some point you could fall victim to a scam, and a common one is a gift card scam.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers reported 48,800 cases of gift card or reload card fraud totaling more than $228 million in losses in 2022. There are more reports of fraud by gift cards than payment methods like bank transfers or payments, wire transfers, cash, check and money orders.

Below, CNBC Select walks through some of the most common types of gift card scams and shows you how to identify them and get your money back if you’ve been scammed.

There are many different types of gift card scams. For example, you might be tricked into purchasing a gift card with a zero balance or you might have your card number compromised.

One of the most common types of gift card scams is when a scammer contacts a victim about an urgent situation and tricks them into buying gift cards and sharing the card details to resolve it. Oftentimes, the scammers impersonate authority figures, relatives or service providers, and say that you need to pay them immediately or something bad will happen.

Here are a few examples of this type of gift scam:

  • Scammers pretend to be from a government organization, such as the IRS or the Social Security Administration, and claim you owe money or else you’ll be arrested.
  • Scammers might pose as a family member…

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