The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that in 2018 consumers spent $245 million on gift cards that were used to pay scammers. The median victim lost $840 per scam. That’s a lot of money and may leave customers feeling hesitant to purchase gift cards.

Education is the best solution to help your customers avoid a gift card scam.

Most often, consumers that use gift cards to pay a scammer are drawn in by an imposter scam. 

FTC press release: FTC Data Show Gift Cards Remain Scammers’ Favorite Payment Method, December 21, 2020.

What is an imposter scam?

Most commonly, a criminal poses as a government official, colleague or boss, family member, or tech support. The criminal convinces the target to buy gift cards under the guise of a variety of different reasons. They may call, text, or email the victim. The result is always the same: go to a retail outlet, purchase a physical gift card, and reveal the pin.

The FTC launched a new toolkit for retailers to help educate others. Be sure your team members from cashiers, contact center staff, and management team are aware of these scams so they can help victims avoid spending their money on these scams.