Today is National Use Your Gift Card Day and many retailers are encouraging you to use your unused gift cards before they are forgotten. That is certainly a good thing to do-gift cards are fun to use because they feel like “free money” even though somebody (maybe even you) paid for them.
However, the Attorney General also wants to use this occasion when we all have our minds on gift cards to point out a potential “dark side” to these seemingly harmless cards. Did you know that gift cards are often used to facilitate fraud?
Scams involving gift cards are constantly changing, but the most common type asks victims – usually over the phone – to buy a gift card to pay legal fees, bail, taxes or other “urgent” expenses.
“Gift cards are for gifts, not payments,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “Anyone who demands payment by gift card is a scammer.”
Here are some tips to prevent gift card fraud:
- If you receive a call or email asking for payment by gift card, know that it’s a scam. Report it to the Oregon Department of Justice right away by calling 1-877-877-9392 or filing a complaint online at www.oregonconsumer.gov.
- Never provide your gift card number and pin to anyone you don’t know. Once those numbers are gone, so is your money.
- Limit sharing your personal information. Be thoughtful – and hesitant – when you get email or phone requests for this information.
- If you’re pressured to act quickly, odds are it’s a scam.
- Don’t open email attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re from legitimate sources.
For more information and resources regarding gift card scams, please visit www.oregonconsumer.gov.