How Does Gift Card Scams Work


October 15, 2022


Gift card scams are becoming more and more common. But how do they work? Scammers will target victims through social media, email, or even in person.

They will ask for the victim’s personal information such as their name, address, and date of birth. They will then say that they have a gift card for the victim to use. The victim is then asked to pay a small fee to cover the cost of shipping or taxes.

Once the victim pays the fee, the scammer will take the money and disappear. The victim is left with no gift card and no way to get their money back.

If you’re like most people, you probably receive at least a few gift cards every year. And if you’re like most people, you probably don’t think twice about using them. After all, they’re just like cash, right?

Wrong. Gift cards are actually one of the easiest ways for scammers to steal your money. Here’s how it works:

The scammer will buy a bunch of gift cards and then wait for someone to purchase something with one of the cards. They’ll then call the customer service number on the back of the card and pretend to be that person. They’ll say they lost their card or forgot their PIN number.

The customer service representative will then cancel the card and issue a new one. The scammer will then use that new card to make purchases before the real owner has a chance to cancel it. By the time the real owner realizes what’s happened, it’s too late – their money is gone.

And since gift cards aren’t regulated like credit cards, there’s no way to get your money back. So next time you’re thinking about using a gift card, be sure to keep this scam in mind – it could save you a lot of headache (and money) down the road!

How Does Gift Card Scams Work
How Does Gift Card Scams Work 4


How Do People Fall for Gift Card Scams?

It’s estimated that about $1 billion is lost each year to gift card scams. That’s a lot of money! So how do people fall for these scams?

There are a few different ways that scammers will try to get you to buy a gift card. They might say that you’ve won a prize and need to pay taxes or fees with a gift card. Or they might claim to be from a utility company or government agency and say that you need to pay your bill with a gift card.

Scammers might also pose as charities and say that they’re collecting donations by gift card. Whatever the story, the scammer will likely ask you to buy a specific type of gift card, like an iTunes or Amazon card, and then give them the code on the back. Once they have the code, they can spend the money before you realize what happened.

So how can you avoid being scammed? First, never give out your personal or financial information to someone you don’t know. And second, be very wary of anyone who asks you to pay for something with a gift card.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Can Gift Card Scams Be Traced?

Gift card scams are becoming more and more common, but can they be traced? The answer is yes and no. If the gift card has been used, then the chances of tracing it are slim to none.

However, if the gift card has not been used, there may be a chance of tracing it back to the person who purchased it. If you receive a gift card that you think may be part of a scam, the best thing to do is to call the customer service number on the back of the card and ask if there have been any recent reports of fraud associated with that particular card. They will be able to tell you if there have been any reports and may even be able to cancel the card so that it can’t be used.

Another way to try and trace a gift card scam is by doing a reverse image search on Google. This will show you all of the places where that particular image has appeared online. If you see that it’s only appearing on websites that look suspicious, then chances are good that it’s part of a scam.

If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to your local law enforcement agency as well as the Federal Trade Commission.

How Does a Gift Card Get Hacked?

When you think of hacking, your mind might immediately jump to computer systems and code. But hacking isn’t limited to the digital world—it can happen in the physical world, too. Case in point: gift cards.

Gift cards are an increasingly popular way to give someone a present, but they’re also a target for thieves. That’s because it’s relatively easy to hack a gift card and drain its value without the owner ever knowing. Here’s how it works: Thieves will use specialized equipment to record the magnetic stripe information on a gift card as it’s being swiped.

They can then sell this information online or use it themselves to make purchases with the gift card before the owner has a chance to activate it. In some cases, hackers will take things one step further and actually alter the magnetic stripe information on a blank gift card so that it matches that of a valid, activated card. This allows them to make purchases without even having to swipe the hacked card—all they need is the number from the front of the card, which is easy enough to find if you know where to look (hint: check online auction sites).

So what can you do to protect yourself from Gift Card Hackers? The best defense is always awareness—knowing that this type of fraud exists and being vigilant about where you use your gift cards can go a long way toward protecting your hard-earned money.

What Happens If You Get Gift Card Scammed?

If you get scammed with a gift card, the scammer will likely take your money and not provide the promised gift card. In some cases, the scammer may send you a fake or stolen gift card that has already been used. If you suspect you’ve been scammed, contact the company that issued the gift card right away.

You may also want to file a police report.

How Visa Gift Card Scams Work

How Does Scamming Cards Work

Most people are familiar with the term “scamming” in relation to fraudulent activities conducted online. However, did you know that scamming can also refer to the act of stealing credit and debit card information? This type of activity is becoming more and more common, as thieves become more adept at finding ways to obtain this sensitive information.

So, how does scamming cards work? There are a few different ways that thieves can go about obtaining your credit or debit card information. One common method is called “skimming.”

This involves attaching a small device, known as a skimmer, to an ATM or other point-of-sale terminal. When someone uses their card at the compromised machine, the skimmer reads and stores the data from the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. The thief can then use this information to create a counterfeit card and make unauthorized charges.

Another way that scammers can get your credit or debit card information is by phishing. This involves sending out emails or text messages that appear to be from a legitimate company or institution (e.g., your bank, Amazon, PayPal). These messages often include links that lead to websites that look identical to the real thing but are actually fake.

Once you input your login credentials on these fake sites, the scammers have everything they need to gain access to your accounts and start making charges. Of course, these are just two of the many methods that thieves use to scam people’s credit and debit cards. As technology continues to evolve, so do the techniques used by criminals.

That’s why it’s important to always be vigilant about protecting your personal information online and only doing business with reputable companies.


Most gift card scams work by taking advantage of the fact that many people don’t know how to correctly use or check their balance on a gift card. Scammers will often buy discounted or unused gift cards from online marketplaces, and then contact the card’s issuer to report that the card is not working. The issuer will then cancel the card and issue a new one to the scammer, who can then spend the money before the victim realizes what has happened.

Other times, scammers will simply ask victims for their gift card number and PIN code so they can directly drain the funds.

About the author 

Abrar Hossain

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