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Gift card companies are adding protections for consumers, who are increasingly being duped into sending funds to online scammers through store credi

In 2022, nearly 65,000 consumers were swindled out of more than $228 million in gift card scams, according to the FTC. 

“Did someone tell you to buy a gift card and give them the numbers? That’s a scam,” the Federal Trade Commission warned in a recent blog post

The good news is there may be ways for people to recoup funds they have inadvertently funneled into the hands of criminals. 

Avoiding a scam

To be sure, it’s better to avoid gift card scams in the first place. Fortunately, there are telltale signs that a request for money is coming from a bad actor. 

Scammers often start with a demanding phone call, text, email or direct message on a social media platform in which the they’ll imitate a legitimate business, charity, or other entity. Sometimes they’ll even pose as a friend or family member, according to the FTC’s warning.

“Their message is always urgent. And they want money. They’ll tell you to buy a gift card or maybe multiple gift cards,” the FTC said. “Once you do, they’ll demand you send a photo of the card or give them the numbers on the back of the card.”

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