Gift card scams are for gifts, not for payments. Someone might ask you to pay for something by putting money on a gift card, like a Google Play or iTunes card, and then giving them the numbers on the back of the card. They’re trying to scam you if they ask you to do this. No real business or government agency will ever insist you pay them with a gift card. Anyone who demands to be paid with a gift card is a scammer. And once they have the gift card number and the PIN, they have your money.

As soon as someone tells you to pay them with a gift card, that’s a scam. Here’s what usually happens:

  1. The caller says it’s urgent. They want to scare or pressure you into acting quickly so you don’t have time to think or talk to someone you trust. Don’t pay. It’s a scam.
  2. The caller usually tells you which gift card to buy. They might send you to a specific store, or sometimes they tell you to buy cards at several stores, so cashiers won’t get suspicious. If this happens to you, stop – it’s a scam.
  3. The caller asks you for the gift card number and PIN. Don’t give the scammer the number on the back of your gift card. Gift cards are like cash – once it’s gone, you can’t get it back.

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, tell the company that issued the card right away. Keep the card and any receipts you have. If someone asks you to pay them with gift cards, report it to the FTC at Report it even if you didn’t pay. To view the full article on Gift Card Scams, visit