JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In an effort to inform and protect consumers during the holidays, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has warned Missourians to be wary of gift card scams.
“As we enter the holiday season, I want to educate the public on potential scams, including those involving gift cards,” said Attorney General Bailey. “The Attorney General’s Office works tirelessly to go after scammers who take advantage of consumers, and I want all Missourians to know that we are a resource if they need assistance. I will continue to do all I can to make sure Missourians hold onto their hard-earned dollars, especially during the holidays.”
Attorney General Bailey offered the following tips on how to avoid gift card scams during the holiday season:
Gift card scams start with a call, text, email, or social media message. Scammers will say almost anything to get you to buy gift cards — like Google Play, Apple, or Amazon cards — and hand over the card number and PIN codes.
Here are some common tactics scammers use in gift card scams:
Scammers will say it’s urgent. They will say to pay them right away or something terrible will happen. They don’t want you to have time to think about what they’re saying or talk to someone you trust. Slow down. Don’t pay. It’s a scam.
Scammers will tell you which gift card to buy (and where). They might say to put money on an eBay, Google Play, Target, or Apple gift card. They might send you to a specific store — often Walmart, Target, CVS, or Walgreens. Sometimes they’ll tell you to buy cards at several stores, so cashiers won’t get suspicious. The scammer also might stay on the phone with you while you go to the store and load money onto the card. If this happens to you, hang up. It’s a scam.
Scammers will ask you for the gift card number and PIN. The card number and PIN on the back of the card let the scammer get the money you loaded onto the card — even if you still have the card itself. Slow down. Don’t give them those numbers or send them a photo of the card. It’s a scam.
If you bought a gift card and gave someone the numbers, that’s a scam. Use your gift card and store receipt for these next steps:
Report the scam to the gift card company right away. No matter how long ago the scam happened, report it.
Ask for your money back. Some companies are helping stop gift card scams and might give your money back. It’s worth asking.
In addition, Attorney General Bailey encourages those who believe they are victims of a scam to contact the Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Hotline at 800-392-8222 or online at ago.mo.gov