The USA FTC Has Recently Published Data Revealing Just How Prevalent And Damaging Gift Card Scams Have Become, With 2021 Being A Particularly Worrying Example

Data released by the Federal Trade Commission reveals that US citizens have lost over USD $148 million due to gift card scams, all of which stem from the first nine months of 2021.

Well, ‘tis the season to be jolly, and if that doesn’t apply to you, it does to hundreds of scammers across the USA. Gift cards are a commonly purchased and offered Christmas present since they’re easy to get, require little to no thought, and essentially allow individuals to buy the gift they want for themselves. Unless, of course, you’re one of those people who buy gift cards offering 10% off of a purchase on Walmart or something. Listen, I’m not saying such people are more or less setting themselves up to be ripped off through karma or anything, not at all. What I am asking, however, is for a little bit of effort to be exerted in your gift card. Gauge the recipient’s interest, spend a tiny bit more and get them something off of a GameStop or tech store instead of some brand that’ll end up being completely useless to them. Seriously, it’s easily been a hundred years since the introduction of gift cards and whiskey stones, yet people still keep buying and gifting them.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently published a study on gift card scammers, which is pretty on-brand considering how Christmas is right around the corner. The report goes into depth regarding how such attacks are conducted, incidence, and provides other relevant facts and figures. Overall, gift card scams are so common because when compared to the likes of other major scams, they’re relatively easy to set up and execute. Gift card scams are all built upon the premise of exploiting individuals with even a hint of naiveté in them, scaring such people into accidentally leaking details that can cause the money on said cards to be lost.

All such attacks rely on the targeted individual already having bought a gift card from any company. The scams themselves take many shapes and forms, but typically have the same setup and payoff. Scammers impersonate a major corporation, or perhaps a relative of some sort. They ask users who have bought the gift card for the code added on its back. After having convinced them to give over the card’s code, they can disappear, never to be seen again. Your ten-dollar Apple gift card’s worthless, and some individual’s getting themselves 50% off on an iPhone by having conducted the same scheme against multiple other individuals. It should be noted, however, that the most targeted gift cards were those of, rather amusingly, Target. If there’s one thing that gift card scammers understand, it’s being on brand.

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