Gift cards are for gifts, NOT for payments. Anyone who tells you to pay with a gift card is a scammer. Report gift cards used in a scam to the companies that issued the gift cards. Then, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Let's say someone calls and says he's from the IRS. He says you owe taxes and need to pay right away by getting a gift card at the store. Should you do it? No, it's a scam.
Government agencies will never make you pay with a gift card. Now let's say the caller claims to be from a tech support company. He says he needs to fix a problem with your computer after you pay him with a gift card. Should you? No, that's a scam too. Real tech support companies don't work like that, or make you pay with a gift card.
What if you get a call from someone who says she's a relative or friend and needs money right now? She begs you to go buy her a gift card. Should you do it? No, that's also a scam. Gift cards wouldn't help real family members or friends in a real emergency.
Gift cards are for gifts, not for payments. Anyone who tells you to pay with a gift card is a scammer, and once you've shared the gift card number and pin your money is probably gone. So what do you do?
If you have paid with a gift card, contact the company that issued the card right away and then tell the FTC. Reporting to the company and the FTC helps us fight these scams. Go to ftc.gov/giftcards to learn more about how to protect yourself and others.