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Hand passing gift card to another outstretched hand.

In the ever-evolving landscape of scams, gift cards have become a prevalent threat, as scammers take advantage of unsuspecting individuals seeking convenient and thoughtful gift-giving options. As the popularity of gift cards continues to rise, so does the creativity of scammers. If a scammer gets their hands on your gift card information, they can wipe the balance clean, and now there is no way for you to recover any money because it’s all untraceable. So, how do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Let's dive in and find out how you can protect yourself from falling victim to the dreaded gift card scam.

1. Think Before You Act:

Imagine this: You get a call asking you to pay your monthly bills with gift cards. Before you act, take a moment and think. Legitimate businesses don't operate this way. If you receive an unusual request like this, hang up immediately.

2. Only Use Secure Payment Methods:

Gift cards are perfect for treating yourself to a night out, but when it comes to categories such as paying your bills, or booking a vacation rental, secure and recognized payment methods are the only way to go. Legitimate businesses have established ways for you to pay securely, and gift cards aren't one of them. If you receive a call asking you to pay with a gift card, consider it a neon sign pointing to a scam.

3. Time Is Your Ally:

Scammers love to rush you. They create a false sense of urgency, making you feel like you must act now. Spoiler alert: you don't. A business will not pressure you to make immediate payments over the phone. If the caller insists you must pay right then, that is a major red flag.

4. Seek Trusted Perspectives

Unexpected calls or messages can throw anyone off balance. If you're unsure about a request, reach out to trusted friends and family. They can provide a fresh perspective, helping you determine what’s legitimate and what’s a scam. Two heads are better than one, especially when dealing with potential scammers.

5. Too Good to Be True:

Scammers often lure individuals with tempting offers, such as a discount if you pay with a gift card. Trust your instincts; if something feels off, it likely is. Approach situations that seem too good to be true with a healthy dose of skepticism.

6. Educate Yourself and Others:

Empower yourself and your loved ones by staying informed about prevalent scams. Share knowledge on warning signs within your social circle. Awareness is a powerful tool in preventing these fraudulent activities from becoming a reality.

By staying vigilant, using secure payment methods for your bills, and being informed, you can protect yourself from falling victim to gift card scams, ensuring a safer and more secure experience while managing your finances.