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Scammers increasingly demand payment by gift card

Federal Trade Commission sees 270% increase
Posted at 5:58 PM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 17:58:22-04

INDIANAPOLIS — If you lose money through a scam, chances are good you used a gift card, according to new research from the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC found a 270 percent increase from 2015 in the use of gift cards and reload cards (like MoneyPak) as a payment method in fraud reports.

Among the top types of scams using gift cards include tech support scams and government imposter scams.

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Typically, the scammer tells you to go to well-known store like Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS to purchase an iTunes, Google Play or other type of gift card.

The FTC found that losses where people reported using gift or reload cards reached $40 million in 2017, up from $20 million in 2015 and $27 million in 2016.

The average consumer loses nearly $1,000 through a tech support scam when paying with a gift or reload card.

When someone demands to be paid with a gift card, that’s a scam, according to the FTC.