Science & Technology

5 Common Gift Card Scams and How to Find them

Recognizing gift card scams will greatly help secure you from this holiday season as well as from this growing threat.

This is also the time when we are all looking for gifts to give and receive online. Gift cards are becoming more and more popular. This means that you may buy or receive gift cards during the festival.In fact, they Huge global market It will grow rapidly over the next few years and is projected to reach US $ 2 trillion by 2027. Needless to say, the popularity of gift cards has kept the attention of cybercriminals and online scammers who have developed the entire underground industry. Focusing on gift cards.

Some scams use the card itself as a lure to trick you into handing over sensitive personal and financial information. In other cases, fraudsters impersonate officials and demand gift card payments.Familiarize yourself with these tactics, whatever the scam Secure online this holiday season..

Why are gift cards so popular with scammers?

In many respects, gift cards are popular with cybercriminals for the same reasons that they are popular with consumers. They are almost ubiquitous money stores that can be used to purchase a huge range of goods and services. That is:

  • Consumers can easily buy online or in stores
  • Today, most retailers and well-known brands offer some form of gift card.
  • Less protection than if the buyer used a regular payment card
  • Like cash, when your card runs out of balance, lost
  • Fraudsters don’t have to provide a bank account for payment-they just need a gift card PIN / code

This has made gift cards a popular item in underground cybercrime.In one recent case, a threat actor Sell ​​900,000 piles of such cards Worth about US $ 38 million on the dark website. Cards can be stolen from the online discount card shop Cardpool and can be traced back to thousands of brands. AirBnB, Amazon, American Airlines, Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts, Marriott, Nike, Subway, Target, Wal-Mart.

Top attack tactics to watch out for

As mentioned earlier, cyber scammers are free to use a variety of tactics. Here are five of the most common threats to watch out for:

  • Threatening “official” demands payment

Here, the fraudster impersonates a legitimate official From the government, Utility provider Or another organization. They usually claim to be paying unpaid taxes and unpaid invoices, threatening victims by emphasizing the urgency of payments.This is classic Social engineering It is designed to speed the decision making of the victim.

Scams can be phishing emails, text messages, or phone calls (“Voice phishing“). Payments must be made with gift cards, and fraudsters usually specify the type of card used for payment. All of these should be warning signs. As FTC says, Real businesses and governments do not require gift card payments.

From time to time, the bad guys go directly to the source and digitally look for your gift card records with the issuer. How do they do this?using Automatic bot Investigate the bank-end IT systems of retailers and other organizations for details on card balances and card numbers. You can use this information to use your card as if you were the official cardholder. This is a ripe area to exploit as follows: According to the survey Americans alone have $ 15 billion in unused gift cards and credits.

  • In-store tampering of cards

Scammers don’t just work online. Another popular trick is to visit a store that sells gift cards and steal numbers and secret PINs. It can also be extremely long to disguise behavior, such as recovering a PIN with a sticker. Some cards may wait for the victim to register online and load the funds onto the card before using them online or making duplicates for in-store use.

Another category of scams uses the temptation of promised prizes to trick users into paying with gift cards. A one-sided contact from a scammer informs the victim that he has made a fortune, but he has to pay a small amount to claim the prize. It doesn’t matter from the car to the holidays. It goes without saying that there are no prizes.

  • Phishing tries to steal data

The gift card itself Used to fool users To hand over their personal information. This is similar to a traditional phishing attack, where the recipient is approached by offering a large gift card balance via email, text, or social media. To claim it, fraudsters need to enter personal and financial information that they sell on the dark web or use for personal information fraud.

How to Protect yourself from Gift Card Scams

Raising and maintaining user awareness is a big part of the fight against gift card scams. The following tips will greatly help you stay safe online.

  • Purchase only from retailers that store gift cards in locked cases
  • If you want to buy online, buy directly from the retail store, not the discount store
  • Buy only gift cards with PIN
  • Skeptical – usually if the offer looks too good and not true
  • Please note that businesses and government officials do not require gift card payments.
  • Do not enter any personal or financial information after one-sided contact online
  • Please use the card as soon as possible
  • Please double check your card balance as soon as you get your card

Remember that malicious people are always thinking about new ways to monetize stolen data. Therefore, the above is not a complete list. But it should be a good place to get started.

5 Common Gift Card Scams and How to Find them 5 Common Gift Card Scams and How to Find them

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