How to avoid gift card scams during season of giving

November 26, 2018 - 3:30 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — In this season of giving, to whom should you not send a gift card?

A Utah man received a call telling him that the Grand County Police Department had issued a warrant for his arrest unless he immediately paid the fine that had been levied.  

He was then directed to buy a Google Play card to pay off the fine to avoid arrest. There was, of course, no warrant. And, by the way, there's not even a Grand County. 

Utah police posted an alert telling the public that they are 101 percent certain that no police department requires Google Play or any other gift card for payment of fines or warrants. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, from January through September of this year, in 26 percent of all scams in which people sent funds to fraudsters, the criminals told people to buy gift cards and to read the pin number to the con artist. That's an increase of 270 percent in this type of fraud in the last three years. 

If you are called by someone you don't know who tells you to pay anything by gift card, hang up. The only gift cards you should be buying are for the people you know and love — but not enough to actually go shopping for.