Jun 10, 2024 - Technology

Beware gift card scams

Illustration of a hand cursor holding four credit cards.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Retailers are struggling to rein in gift card scammers.

  • Americans lost at least $217 million to gift card scams last year, the Federal Trade Commission says — and many victims are too embarrassed to report being targeted.

Some gift card scams start with texts from people pretending to be tech support, your boss or a government agent.

  • Eventually, scammers will ask you to buy gift cards on their behalf and text them the barcode number.

The big picture: Gift cards, like cryptocurrencies, give scammers easy access to difficult-to-trace money.

  • Because most gift cards are offered through third parties, it's hard for retailers to tell how and where the money was spent.

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