Gift cards make great holiday gifts. But reports to FTC show that scammers like getting them, too. Scammers don’t ask nicely, though. They use trickery to insist on gift cards, and they ask for specific brands. Scammers prefer gift cards because they can get quick cash while staying anonymous. In fact, giving a scammer the PIN numbers off the back of a gift card is the number one way people report losing money on many of the top frauds reported to the FTC.
When the job market is tough, scammers target people who are looking for work or trying to bring in extra income. Economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may have created ideal conditions for these scams to proliferate. In fact, the volume of reports to the FTC about income scams reached the highest levels on record in the second quarter of 2020.1