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ftc.gov/giftcards

Like spring cleaning for your finances, Financial Literacy Month is a great time to dust off your knowledge for spotting and avoiding scams. The best way to make a clean getaway from a scam? Listen to how they tell you to pay.

If someone tells you:

  • “Pay us by putting money on a gift card and then give us the number on the back.” — That’s a scam.
  • “We’ll send you a check, deposit the check, and then send us the money.”— That’s a scam. (That check will later turn out to be fake and you will be on the hook for the money.)
  • “You have to pay us by sending money through a money transfer company like MoneyGram or Western Union.— That’s a scam.
  • “Go to a store with a cryptocurrency ATM, put your money in to buy cryptocurrency, and use this QR code to send it to this address.” — That’s a scam.

Scammers have lots of stories about why you need to pay — like pretending they’re calling from the government, a business, utility, tech company, or even a charity. Or they’ll call about a family emergency. Or maybe they call with an alert about a virus on your computer that needs fixing. No matter what they say, they’ll pressure you to act immediately, and of course, pay them money. When they do, hang up and report them to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

For more information on spotting scams and avoiding them, visit ftc.gov/scams. And don’t forgot to share what you learn with others during #FinancialLiteracyMonth.

15 Comments


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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.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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.

Gary James
April 12, 2022

Thank you for all you do, in a sincere and dedicated way to keep us all safe. We Senior Citizens
have come all this way in life, and there are sooooooo many bad and deceitful people in the world,
trying to cheat us. You should be applauded for all that you do, each and every day.
GOD Bless you!!

James Reeves
May 16, 2022

"I need your bank account number and routing number to the bank"

Lori Hecker
April 12, 2022

I was gift card scammed in 2021, to the tune of $12,000.00. It was the most horrible experience.

Joan McKniff
May 02, 2022

Format a card that we can cut and keep, tape on laptop, give to granny and kids with links to forward info to you, call, fax etc. I get scam atc3 am and think “send where”?

Age 81, not dumb but tired, move with pain.

Frankie Ho
April 12, 2022

I received an email that my checking account was transferring $12000.00 to China in the Saturday morning. When I called that phone number and a guy answered my phone. He said it was too late to stop this wire transfer because that was Saturday about 12:45 pm. He kept talking to me on phone and finally he instructed me to buy a gift card from Target. Then I knew it was a scam, because:

1. I don't have that much money in my checking account.
2. I read about this kind of news before that some victims bought the gift cards for them.
3. I ran to OC Sheriff Department and reported this crime.

Jeffrey G
April 12, 2022

If for any reason someone wants to remotely attach to your computer, and especially your bank account, that's likely a scam.

Ron witham
April 12, 2022

thank you for all the info i get from FTC

Anonymous
April 12, 2022

Thank you for sharing this information.

Rosemary Sacco
April 25, 2022

Why cant I put this on facebook? I like to get the word out.

Susan Whitworth
April 13, 2022

I really appreciate what FTC has done for me so far. I still am scared to be with out them. I’m not sure if my case is done yet.

Laura Anderson
April 25, 2022

Thank you for the continuous updates on "scammer" tactics! Are you able to republish how to spot a scam email/URL? Appreciate it! They are getting more and more sophisticated through both email and social media!

Anonymous
April 15, 2022

I have been talking to this kind recently and he says that he is from UK but I know he is not because I checked his profile picture he is using someone else picture and his numbers say that he is in some county around Central Asia I did online background check on him he doesn't know that yet and I have the actual person's social media I want to confront him but he says he bought me a gift and it will require me to pay I am not paying anything I am gonna confront him

Mae West
May 02, 2022

Thank you for all of this information. I've been receiving a lot of calls, and I just hang up, if I answered without thinking; I now have my speaker phone set to "unknown caller" so I don't make the mistake of answering a call that is not in my phone already!!!

SUFAH MAGLOIRE…
May 25, 2022

I was Scam by an investment plateform of my 134usdt that pretended to Mercado libre

Steve
June 03, 2022

Most of these scams operate outside of US legal jurisdiction. Reporting them really serves no purpose other than to make others aware of the depth of the problem.

The solution is to become better educated and develop critical thought skills. All of us get these but not all of us get scammed.