FTC launches new tools to fight gift card scams

The Federal Trade Commission has a new campaign to stop scammers from getting gift cards by working with stores and law enforcement.

The Stop Gift Card Scams campaign includes downloadable materials for stores and communities to share information on how to avoid gift card scams. Available downloads include the following:

The FTC is working with the Department of Justice and local law enforcement to help get the word out nationwide, according to a news release detailing the campaign.

Since 2018, almost $245 million has been paid to scammers, according to the FTC.

The FTC also released an updated Data Spotlight with details on gift card scams:

  • Reports suggest eBay is scammers’ current gift card brand of choice. It used to be Google Play and iTunes, but eBay has recently claimed the top spot.
  • People most often report using gift cards to pay scammers pretending to be the government, a business, tech support, or a friend or family member in trouble.
  • People report that scammers tell them to buy gift cards at Walmart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens. And once they have you there, they’ll keep you on the phone as you pay for the gift cards.

The FTC says that if someone tells you to pay with a gift card, it’s likely a scam. Report gift card scams through the FTC on its website.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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