When it comes to the phone scams that are costing Americans millions of dollars, there is one thing many of them have in common: The scammer tells the victim to buy gift cards. But that may be about to change.
The gift card scam.
It happened to Shawncea Colvin, who was buying a used car online.
“I put $200 on one, and $100 on another,” Colvin said.
It happened to Mary Cullick, too, after a caller claimed to be from social security.
“‘Get 2 gift cards….$500 each,'” Cullick recalls the scammer saying.
And so many others, after getting frightening calls supposedly from the IRS or the local Sheriff.
Now, one state is trying to put a stop to gift card scams with this: 1,000 grocery stores in Arizona have teamed up with the state Attorney General to put stop signs at their gift card displays.
It says ‘gift cards cannot be used to pay any government agency.’
But from the “doesn’t that stink” file, why it just scratches the surface of these scams.
First, other states besides Arizona should join the effort. Second, it only addresses fake government calls. It doesn’t mention the gift card scams targeting people trying to buy boats, campers and cars.
Remember: Don’t pay anyone who gift cards. They are untraceable and non-refundable.
In the meantime, make sure older relatives know the warning signs of a phone scam. Let them know they should never buy gift cards from a caller.