Scammers convince people to buy gift cards and reveal the numbers on the back of the cards to steal the money.
Michigan, Chicago, and Pennsylvania State Police are warning consumers against scams involving gift cards in their latest announcement. Latest reports by the Federal Trade Commission reveal, “In the first nine months of 2021 alone, nearly 40,000 people reported $14 million stolen using gift cards.”
However, account recovery specialist Peter Thompson working at Cyber-Forensics.net, a cyber forensics service for online scam victims, explains: “gift card scams are becoming increasingly common, and better each day. There isn’t enough support for consumers. It’s not an issue limited to states anymore. They are impacting consumers worldwide.”
Therefore, consumers need to find solutions to avoid these types of scams. The eye-opening statistics confirm that consumers need to commit to slowing the number of gift card scams by staying alert about how these scams are pulled off.
Another reason to gather sufficient knowledge of these tricks is to stay protected. These scams can easily morph into new variants like funeral assistance or fake scenarios and steal users’ money affecting their financial status.
How Do Gift Card Scams Work?
One of the spokespeople from Michigan State Police mentioned: “Scam artists will call, text or email people trying to get targets to buy a gift card and then ask for the gift card number over the phone.”
But consumers need to remember these gift cards are meant for gifting, not for paying. More importantly, unlike other scams, gift card scams don’t directly ask for banking details but rely on instilling a sense of fear in customers. Scammers threaten to freeze the customer's accounts and tell them to buy gift cards to unfreeze their accounts.
It was tough to relive the experience for Michael Alan Winicour, who couldn’t believe he fell victim to a gift card scam.
Winicour received an email apparently from Apple with the subject line “iTunes Apple Subscription.” Believing there was a problem, Winicour called the number provided in the email.
The scammer told Michael that his bills were found charged to his Apple account. Scammers convinced Winicour to buy $7,000 worth of gift cards within a few hours. It’s a story even Michael’s son Corey Blake couldn’t understand.
The scammer then asked Winicour to tell the numbers on the back of the card. And after everything was set and done, Michael ended up losing $8,497.48.
“It’s hard to make sense of how this happened to somebody, and yet it’s happening to tens of thousands of people,” said Corey Winicour.
Understanding the gravity of the matter, several organizations are issuing urgent consumer alerts and informing them about the tips to protect money. Timothy Benson, who is also a fund recovery expert, recommends the following:
How to Protect Against Gift Card Scams?
Timothy Benson, says, “gift card scams have grown exponentially. They are happening everywhere. Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, any company that sells gift cards could potentially be experiencing the same problem.”
Regardless of the type of scams, they always have one thing in common: they hurt consumer experience. However, many organizations have strengthened the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services against malpractices. This is called consumer protection.
1) Stay Informed: Along with corporate worlds putting their best foot forward in protecting fundamental rights of consumers such as Right to value for money, Right to Information, Right to Choose, Right to Redress, Right to Safety, etc., consumers can ensure the following:
- Before buying a gift card, check the packaging for rips, scratch signs, and deliberate tampering.
- Ensure the gift card number matches the receipt provided.
- Keep the gift card receipt safe.
- Call the numbers and resolve the matter immediately in case of any problem.
- Use the gift cards soon. Never store them for later use.
- According to the Federal Trade Commission, the most common merchants used for gift card scams are Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, Google Play, Home Depot, iTunes, and even Green Dot MoneyPak.
2) Put fraud alerts on gift cards: A U.S bank took notice of the rising cases and informed “fraud can occur on any type of payment card including a gift card. If consumers experience issues with prepaid gift cards, they must call the numbers on the back and seek timely support.” They can even stay protected by putting scam alerts on their gift cards to ensure those suspicious activities can be tracked and caught in time.
Are Fund Recovery Companies Helpful in Recouping Lost Money?
Fortunately, yes. If someone has been a victim of a gift card scam, fund recovery companies can investigate the matter accurately and speed up the process of recouping lost funds. They will inspect the details of the scam occurrence, such as means, date, lost amount, scammers’ location, and status of financial assets.
Additionally, fund recovery companies can help victims connect to the proper authorities on time. Using advanced technologies like AI-powered tools, the firm specialists implement facial recognition systems, information-sourcing from social media, location tracking to inspect, analyze, and solve cases.
But unless victims have contacted credible fund recovery firms, all their money and time can go to waste. There are enough reviews and customer feedback that prove Cyber-Forensics.net to be an experienced service provider.
Cyber-Forensics.net is committed to providing the most accurate fund recovery service for victims of online scams. Cyber-Forensics.net empowers and simplifies the process of tracking down the cyber-criminals and assists in recovering the funds and creating an atmosphere for a negotiated settlement. For more information, please visit http://cyber-forensics.net/.