LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford advising Nevadans to be on alert when someone asks you for payment by a gift card.
Ford says this is a popular method of payment for scammers. Legitimate businesses and government agencies will never ask for payment by a gift card.
“Gift cards are for monetary gifts to your family members, friends, and other people you know, not for making payments for taxes, fines, bills, or other types of reimbursement,” said AG Ford. “Treat gift card funds like cash: once you hand the gift card off, that money is gone.”
Gift cards are a popular form of payment for scams because they are easy for people to purchase. Once the scammer has the card information, they can quickly use the funds, and the money cannot be recovered or traced.
The AG says many scams follow a similar path. First, the caller or email communication will create an urgent situation, like claiming to be from the government and asking you to pay a fine.
Second, the scammer will tell you to buy a specific gift card or set of gift cards and load money onto it. Scammers may instruct you to purchase the cards at different stores in order to avoid suspicion from the retailer. Cashiers at many major retailers are trained to ask consumers who are buying large amounts on gift cards questions to alert consumers of scams.
Finally, once you have purchased the cards, the scammer will ask for the gift card number and PIN. Once the scammer has this information, they can use the money loaded on the card immediately.
If you believe you are the victim of a gift card scam, AG recommends several steps you can take:
- Report it to the company that issued the card as soon as possible
- File a police report with local law enforcement, particularly if you physically handed the gift card to the scammer
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the Nevada Attorney General