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Did someone tell you to buy a gift card and give them the numbers? That’s a scam. Your money was gone the moment you gave someone those gift card numbers. But now, some gift card companies might be able to get your money back.

Gift card scams start with calls, texts, emails, or social media messages. The scammer pretends to be someone they’re not: a company, the government, a family member, or romantic interest. Their message is always urgent. And they want money. They’ll tell you to buy a gift card or maybe multiple gift cards. Once you do, they’ll demand you send a photo of the card or give them the numbers on the back of the card.

But now, some gift card companies are flagging fraudulent transactions and freezing stolen gift card money so that scammers can’t get it. And those gift card companies want to give that money back.

So, if a gift card scam happens to you, act fast:

  • Report it to the gift card company. Tell them you were scammed. Give the gift card company the information from your receipt or a copy of the numbers on your gift card.
  • Ask for your money back. Once you report a gift card scam to the gift card company, ask for your money back. If the money was frozen or not downloaded by the scammer, some gift card companies will give the money back.
  • Tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your report makes a difference and helps #stopscams.

The faster you contact any gift card company to report a gift card scam, the better the chance of getting your money back. But it doesn’t matter when you were scammed with a gift card. For more information about avoiding and reporting gift card scams, visit ftc.gov/giftcards.

Gift cards


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Submitted by Gregory Johnson on August 28, 2023 | 9:40AM


Thank you for looking out for us, military Veterans. Unfortunately, I have fallen for this lunacy in hopes of securing funding to serve people through our nonprofit. I know the money spent for the card purchases is gone but I appreciate you reaching out with this warning. I think I have been stupidly pursuing online offers for more than a year to no avail. I continue to receive similar offers but I refuse them now 100%. I have STOPPED being stupid. COVID literally killed our family nonprofit, which is focused on families and communities. I was seeking quick or rapid funding to rejuvenate our family nonprofit that served civilians and military families.