Gift Card Scams Everyone loves a gift card for their favorite retailer or restaurant. It’s like getting money to spend in any way you please! Unfortunately, scammers also love gift cards, but for all the wrong reasons: They often use gift cards to pull off scams. Here’s what you need to know about gift card scams and how to avoid them. How the scams play out There are several ways scammers utilize gift cards to con victims out of their money: The IRS gift card scam. A threatening message that’s allegedly from the IRS claims you’re at risk of arrest for tax evasion unless you pay up pronto! Payment must be made by a gift card. It’s often specifically requested to be an iTunes gift card, because, as you know, the IRS always collects taxes in the form of digital music. The sweepstakes gift card scam. You’ve won a trip to the Cayman Islands! Just pay the processing fee by a gift card. You’ll never see that majestic sunset, but your money’s ridden off. The utility gift card scam. If you don’t pay up with a gift card, the lights just might go out. They won’t, but if you fall for the scam, you’ll be out the money you put on the gift card.The balance-check gift card scam. You purchase a discounted gift card online and the seller sends the card but then asks you to read the numbers over the phone to confirm the balance. If you comply, the seller now has all the information they need to drain the card. How to spot a gift card scam A little bit of knowledge goes a long way in recognizing gift card scams: The IRS will never initiate correspondence by phone call, text message, or email. Instead, they will send a letter to taxpayers through the U.S. postal system. No authentic business or government agency will insist on payment by a gift card. If you don’t recall entering a sweepstakes, chances are you didn’t win it either.A caller or message claiming a matter is urgent and demands immediate action is nearly always a scam. In general, gift cards should be used for purchases or to send as gifts, and not as payments. Also, as with all sensitive information, the numbers on your gift card should never be shared over the phone or online. Finally, it’s best to only purchase gift cards through reputable sellers or those that have excellent customer reviews and/or offer a cash-back guarantee. If you’ve fallen victim to a gift card scam If you’ve paid a scammer with a gift card or shared your gift card information after being taken by any of the above ruses or similar schemes, take immediate steps to mitigate the damage. First, contact the company that issued the card as soon as possible. You can find the customer service number for most companies on the card itself or through a simple Google search. Tell the representative what happened. If you still have them, hold on to the receipt and the actual card for proof should it be required. Amazon Call 1 (888) 280-4331.Keep the Amazon card itself and your receipt for the Amazon card.Learn about Amazon gift card scams and how to report them. Click on “Contact us.” Ebay Chat with eBay customer support, or have a representative call you backKeep the eBay gift card itself and your receipt for the eBay gift card.Learn more about scams using eBay gift cards and how to report them. Google Play Report the gift card scam to Google.Keep the Google Play card itself and your receipt for the Google Play card.Learn about Google Play gift card scams and how to report them. iTunes Call Apple Support right away at 1 (800) 275-2273. Say “gift card” to connect with a live representative.Ask if the money is still on the iTunes card. If so, Apple can put a freeze on it. You might be able to get your money back from them.Keep the iTunes card itself and your receipt for the iTunes card.Learn about iTunes gift card scams and how to report them. Steam If you have a Steam account, report gift card scams online. Click the “Purchases” option, then click, “I have charges from Steam that I didn’t make.” Then click, “Contact Steam Support.”Keep the Steam card itself and your receipt for the Steam card.Learn about Steam gift card scams. Target Call Target GiftCard Services at 1 (800) 544-2943 Next, if the scammer continues to contact you by phone, text message or email, do not engage further. Block the scammer’s number from your mobile device and mark their emails as spam. Finally, report the incident to the FTC and alert your family and friends about the scam. Stay safe!