Viral Video Issues Warning About Gift Card Scams And How To Avoid Them Before The Holidays

Photo: TikTok
TikTok Gift Card Scam

As we get closer to the holidays, gift cards can be a great last minute gift but you need to be careful that you're not walking yourself into a scam!

Gift card scams are reportedly on the rise so unless you want your holidays to be ruined, there are some precautions you should take.

How to avoid gift card scams:

TikToker Cathy Pedrayes posted a video last week describing how to avoid gift card scams close to the holidays. 

Pedrayes warns that scammers are grabbing gift cards, taking pictures of the card and replacing security tape. She also suggested that some may be placing their own barcode on the card so the money automatically goes to them. 

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If you think the packaging of a gift card looks like it has been tampered with it is best to report it to an employee. 

   

   

Pedrayes further explained in the comment section of the video. “So basically they get pinged when you load money & drain the card. It’s happened all over the country- but holidays are def peak for scams” she said. 

Gift card scams have cost US consumers millions of dollars. 

According to data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2021 about 40,000 consumers reported losing $148 million from scammers with gift cards. 

“Scammers favor gift cards because they are easy for people to find and buy, and they have fewer protections for buyers compared to some other payment options,” Emma Fletcher said in the Commission’s report.

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Although the FTC report doesn’t directly acknowledge the scam Pedrayes described, scammers use several different methods to get money from gift cards. 

According to ABC 7, the FTC gave a few tips to avoid gift card scams. 

Don't give away the gift card number.  

Scammers will ask you to pay for an item by putting money on a gift card and giving them the gift card number. However, the gift cards act as cash so once the money is used it’s gone. 

Do not respond to suspicious callers. 

If someone calls asking you to pay your bill with a gift card, hang up the phone or block the number. No company follows this rule. 

Don’t take quick action. 

Many scammers will try to get you to respond quickly and hand over the information. If a caller is pressuring you to make payments with gift cards remember to hang up the phone and don’t give in to them. 

Many commenters are making their own suggestions. 

In the comment section of Pedrayes video several users are suggesting the gift cards be placed in cases or behind the register to ensure safety. 

A recent comment said, “Gift cards r the real thing that belongs in cases not deodorant” 

Some commenters have also said they have been a victim of this. 

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One user said, “This happened to me last year I got a $100 gift card and it didn’t work and found out they did this” 

Similarly another commented, “bruh this just happened to me last wednesday i lost 75 dollars.” 

However, some believe Pedrayes warning is untrue. 

One comment says, “That's impossible, you have to pay for the cards and the credit or money or it won't work, my friend did it before”

Pedrayes responded to this user and said, “It’s not impossible. They get pinged when the cards are activated. There’s news articles on it if you want more details.” 

The commenter quickly apologized and said their friend “took a few cards and didn’t work.”  

However, it is clear many have been scammed out of money by gift cards. Be careful out there. 

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Sydney Taylor is a writer who focuses on News and Entertainment topics.