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Gift cards are a great way to give a gift. But did you know they are also a scammer’s favorite way to steal money? According to the FTC’s new Data Spotlight, more scammers are demanding payment with a gift card than ever before – a whopping 270 percent increase since 2015.Gift cards and reload cards are the #1 payment method for imposter scams. More scammers are demanding payment with a gift card. The percentage of consumers who told the FTC they paid a scammer with a gift card has increased 270% since 2015. Reports to the FTC say scammers are telling people to buy gift cards at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS and other retail shops. 42% of people who paid a scammer with a gift card used iTunes or Google Play. Federal Trade Commission.

Gift cards are for gifts, not for payments. If someone calls with urgent news or a convincing story and then pressures you to pay them by buying a gift card, like an iTunes or Google Play card, and then giving them the codes on the back of the card – stop. It’s a scam.

Gift cards are the number one payment method that imposters demand. They might pose as IRS officials and say you’re in trouble for not paying taxes; or a family member with an emergency; or a public utility company threatening to shut off your water; or even a servicemember selling something before deployment. Or they might call with great news – you’ve won a contest or a prize! But to get it, you need to pay fees with a gift card. Scammers will say anything to get your money. And they know how to play into your fears, hopes, or sympathies. They like gift cards because, once they’ve got the code on the back, the money is gone and almost impossible to trace. But knowing how these scams work can help you avoid them, and you can help even more by passing on the information to people you know.

(View or share the YouTube version of this video.)

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, report it as soon as possible. Call the card company and tell them the gift card was used in a scam. Here is contact information for some of the gift card companies that scammers use most often. Then, tell the FTC about it – or any other scam – at Your reports may help law enforcement agencies launch investigations that could stop imposters and other fraudsters in their tracks.

Report Scams

  • Call 1 (888) 280-4331
  • Learn about about Amazon gift card scams here.

Google Play

  • Call 1 (855) 466-4438
  • Report gift card scams online here.
  • Learn about Google Play gift card scams here.


  • Call 1 (800) 275-2273 then press “6” for other, then say “operator” to be connected to a live representative.
  • Learn about iTunes gift card scams and how to report them here.


  • If you have a Steam account, you can report gift card scams online here.
  • Learn about Steam gift card scams here.
  • Call 1 (866) 795-7969
  • Report a MoneyPak card scam online here.
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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Fell for it?
January 03, 2020
Gov. Grant pay money with E BAY GIFT CARD TO GET GOV.GRANT by senting photos of cards and license and reciepts Had me believing i was talking to two of friends i had worked with for 40 years
January 27, 2020
Hi I was called regarding a loan and was asked to buy and amazon voucher for 25 Then asked for 75 for insurance and I was gauranted 1200 in my account but asked for more money now I’m broke and they took over 100 from me
Don't use your…
February 16, 2020
There should be some kind of law for people who were scammed by tech support imposed asking for payments for gift cards. To help those who were scammed. Because it seems like no really cares about this problem. People make mistakes when the are not think right. They Believe what that person is saying to them, someone is hacking in to there computer trying to steal the information off of it. So you do what they ask. Then you realize that before it's too late. These scammer are using counterfeited gift cards at stores. Why is there no help or laws against that? Because there should be. Because right now no one's cares about these victims. It's just not fair.
February 26, 2020
A guy posing as AJ McLean from backstreet boys asked me to buy him a ate card to use for his productions . Also asked me to on tour with him. He tried to make me believe that he was aj which I know isnt true. Then he started toktoking with a friend and she was dumb enough to do it now she's in debt and credit card fraud
Tasha cell
May 10, 2020

In reply to by JaelynCA2020

I have been texting an engineer who is working in Lagos, Nigeria for quite awhile now. He claims to live in the USA-- and that he is an engineer in Lagos. I sent him 100 in April-- to help him-- now he is wanting an eBay card for another 100. He claims they have been on stand still with his company because of Covid-19 in Lagos and needs the money to get by on. I am a senior citizen living on social security-- money seems to be his game. Great romantic texting and talking-- but starting to wonder??
August 18, 2020
I would expect that gift cards are also easier to launder too.
Gisella Johnson
September 06, 2020
They also use Facebook too. They will come to you saying if you buy $100 to $1000 gift card that they will pay you a double amount. I almost felt for it until I sent a dollar and then I asked since I gave a dollar don't I get 2 dollars back and that didn't happen. So that lets me know that she was gonna take what ever money and bounce. Then it's through cash app as well. So becareful to everyone. When it's to good to be true it usually is. If you are gonna do it. Do it with a different account and money amount all together. That way your other money is safe and the bank can help track them down.
September 27, 2020
I’ve gotten an email from “amazonspprtsrvices” saying that if I don’t accept the money this guy sent me they’ll send me to court or have an arrest warrant for me and in order for me to receive the money I would need to buy a gift card which I did and then they told me to send 100 to a cashtag which I did and it refunded due to a potential scam and then they said to buy a gift card for 100 which I did and gave them the code and they said the payment should process but they emailed me two days later saying it didn’t and that this agent would email me and next thing you know she told me to buy a gift card of 500 and I’m here like is this even real? So I called amazon and they told me that email wasn’t associated with them and idk if it’s true or not but is it possible to send an arrest warrant for someone who doesn’t accept the money ?
September 29, 2020
Bigo site scammers asking for gift cards or bank details stop don't fall for it
November 04, 2020
I just recently had a fake messenger account pose as a family member messaging me for a steam gift card but never sent any money. After finding out it was fake I simply blocked the account. Should I be concerned?
November 07, 2020
these scams have literally caused the demise and early dementia of an old lady friend who went to the bank following the orders on phone to give them money for relative in Poland. Lady was lucky enough to have banks and friend intervene with police, but it was too late for her. She had a breakdown and never recovered. she could no longer live on her own and god bless her; yeterday she passed away.
November 14, 2020
When I sent my 2 Steam card $100; the 1st $50 used, the 2nd one is bad & useless. Either I bought a $100 iTunes card @$25.00; when I sent the copy to her dad in SYRIA & forwarded it to her daughter in TURKEY all bad & useless! They blamed me I used or sent to other person, before they sent it to right person in TURKEY! How can I recover that money that was SCAM from me $150 "that was hard earned, sweat & tears money", it happened last Sept 2020!
Tired of scammers
December 11, 2020
Mr. Pastor77 reloaded gives a 206-258-5727 number out for WhatsApp I texted him for prayer I then get texted from a new york number 1+-347-919-7297 number asking to go buy I tune card scratch it and send him a picture of it this is a scammer u tube channel how do you report him if you only have a phone
January 02, 2021
No company would ever ask for payment in the form of a gift card to Target or Best Buy or any other retail store! Logically that makes zero sense
June 04, 2021
I keep getting texts from this lady say get her $150 or she will tell wife i am having affair with her. Some how she got my wifes first name and sister inlaws. who do i report the phone number to?
Susan Moreland…
June 12, 2021
I have been scammed by a person saying he is the fraud officer from london, By buying google play gift cards from sainbury,s, I paid cash, than he told me to remove the silver foil of the back of the gift cards and tell him the numbers on the back of the gift cards. I told him this ,on the phone.
Ann Daugherty
July 07, 2021
I was scammed by people offering promotion on AT&T/Direct TV. They asked that I pay them with ebay gift cards. Unfortunatly I called them back and gave them card numbers to the amt $390. I called AT&T and they told me they never call and offer clients promotions over the phone. I am trying to stop payment with my bank. Just wanted this reported so someone else doesn't fall for this scam.
September 16, 2021
I was scam more than once and they hacked my Facebook sent me text on Facebook like it was my cousin and say that the government giving away free money but you have to call this number to get the money and go and get nike gift card 1500 dollars worth big scam another one is these doctors in Africa and nergeria claiming they can heal your blood pressure so they say sent 250.00 so I did the next thing he said your package has stop in some state and you need to pay 400 to have it ship to you I say no it's a scam he was very mad big scam