Watch for Gift Card Scams

Watch for Gift Card Scams

When it comes to gift giving, it’s easy to think you can never go wrong with a gift card. forecasts that gift card spending will reach $510 billion by 2025.

The popularity of gift cards also attracts scammers. So, it’s important to keep your guard up this holiday season or whenever you’re purchasing this go-to gift.


The FBI encourages you to be vigilant and cautious when giving or using gift cards. Here are a couple of the tactics that scammers use.

  • Number Scams. Fraudsters look at gift card displays in stores and jot down the numbers. They call to get the balance and spend it before its rightful recipient has a chance. Only purchase cards with covered numbers. If it looks like someone has tampered with the card, do not purchase it.
  • Imposter Scams. Some fraudsters impersonate peoples’ relatives and friends and ask for money in the form of prepaid gift cards urgently. They do their homework to use familiar names in order to trick people, often targeting older adults. Any request for emergency funds via a gift card is a major red flag. Call or text that person to verify before you take action.
  • Impersonating Your Boss. Many fraudsters are even sending emails impersonating peoples’ supervisors or bosses, asking them to buy gift cards for a work matter. If this happens, contact your boss directly: either in person or their verified phone number, to confirm it’s not them.


Here are more ways to protect yourself from gift card scams:

  • Try to purchase gift cards directly from the retailer's brick and mortar or online store.
  • Avoid purchasing gift cards from public auction sites.
  • When selling a gift card via a third party or classified site, do not agree to a three-way-gift-card-balance-check. Your touch tone phone will provide the card's digits to the scammer.
  • Review the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Consumer Alerts and the Federal Trade Commission for potential scams.

Don’t let the risk of scammers rob you of the joy of giving gift cards this holiday season. Just take a few precautions to protect yourself.

For more cyber security tips, visit our Identity Protection page.

Revised November 2022

Information presented in the Financial Advice website is provided for educational purposes only and is not related to Ameris Bank's actual products or services. Ameris Bank makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. Ameris Bank recommends you consult a professional for any specific guidance you are seeking.