(WHTM) — The AARP Fraud Watch Network recently conducted a survey on gift-card-payment scams.

According to the survey, more than one-third of adults say that they or someone they know has been asked to buy a gift card to fix a problem or help a loved one in a bind.

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Of those targeted, nearly one-quarter followed through and purchased gift cards. AARP says legitimate businesses and government agencies will never ask you to make payments by purchasing gift cards and sharing the numbers on the back.

Here are the red flags:

  • Someone tries to convince you the quickest way to address a situation is to purchase gift cards and share the numbers on the back.
  • In most scenarios, the criminal creates an emotional situation and you feel pressured to act quickly.

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If you try to purchase gift cards and the employee warns you that you may be the victim of a scam, trust them. They are trying to help you

AARP says if are asked to purchase a gift card to solve a problem or get some type of promotion, hang up. That is probably a scam.

If you have lost money to a gift card scam, call your local police. Be sure to insist they file a report. This may help you get your money back if the criminals are brought to justice down the road.