Available data suggests that gift card payment scams are growing fast. The losses reported to BBB Scam Tracker for this payment type nearly tripled between 2017 and 2020, with a median loss of $700 in 2020.
An in-depth investigative study by Better Business Bureau finds an increase in reports of scams involving gift cards, with hundreds of millions of dollars in losses over the last few years.
Gift Card Payment Scams: BBB Reveals Why Scammers Love Gift Cards looks at the scope of fraud involving gift cards as a payment method, the way various cards work, the scammers who exploit them and the steps that the industry can take to further tackle this scourge.
According to the study, payment by gift card is a common thread among many scams that have been the subject of previous BBB studies, including government impersonators, business email compromise frauds, tech support frauds, romance scams, fake check scams, prize/sweepstakes scams, and online sales of nonexistent vehicles.
Suzanne in Minneapolis filed a complaint with the BBB when she says her elderly mother purchased $2,000 Nike gift cards as instructed by scammers who were impersonating the FBI. Suzanne says only after the gift card numbers were shared with the scammers and used, Nike noticed suspicious activity and stopped purchases and deliveries of their products… Brainerd Dispatch