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Gift Card Association Promotes PSA Warning Consumers About Fraud Dangers

RGCA, gift card scam, FTC, gift card payment
Image courtesy of RGCA

Gift cards remain a popular purchase among consumers, but they also provide openings for scammers and criminals. In conjunction with the upcoming National Consumer Protection Week, the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA) is promoting a public service announcement to inform consumers about steps toward secure use.

At the beginning of the 2021 holiday shopping season, gift-card purchases experienced a surge in demand. The Fiserv 19th Annual U.S. Prepaid Consumer Insights Study of 1,000 U.S. consumers, surveyed in December 2021, revealed that 73% purchased either the same number of gift cards or more that year compared to 2020.

Unfortunately the trend in gift-card scams is also growing, with AARP reporting that one in 10 adults of 1,000 surveyed fell victim to gift-card fraud, with criminals specializing in this type of crime asking for payment of a nonexistent outstanding bill or fee.  

In RGCA’s animated public service announcement, a talking cartoon gift card notes that it has been the top-selling present for “more than a decade,” but goes on to say that it is beloved by both consumers and criminals. In the gift card crime segment, fraudulent representatives are known to contact potential victims through telephone calls, text, email and social media messages. Some criminals still rely on scamming via snail mail through the U.S. Postal Service. According to RGCA, scammers demand payment on falsified charges such as Internal Revenue Service fees, taxes on prizes, technology support, bail money and aid for religious or community organizations.

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When contacted by a representative demanding gift-card payment, RGCA advises potential victims to hang up the telephone or remain unresponsive to messages. The video goes on to advise that those who are approached by scammers file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The RGCA encourages consumers to educate loved ones against fraudulent activity as the organization prepares for the March 10 Slam The Scam Day, which is part of the FTC’s National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) to be observed March 6-12, 2022.

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