How do gift card scams work?
Gift card scammers will try to gain your confidence by pretending to be someone else, such as a colleague, boss, family member, or a romantic interest. The scammers then exploit this trusted relationship to trick you into buying gift cards (and into revealing the card number and PIN), which the scammers immediately redeem.
In a number of examples reported to us at OCSIA, the scammer pretends to be a company owner or a senior manager at the person's workplace. The scammer emails or sends a WhatsApp message to ask for an 'errand' and they say that communication should be only through email or WhatsApp.
How to avoid becoming a victim
If someone emails or messages you with an urgent request to buy gift cards then you can bet that this is a scam.
The scammer wants to push you into acting without thinking by pretending to be someone in authority and creating an atmosphere of urgency.
If you are in any doubt, do not give any money over. And if you have the contact details for the person who is supposedly in contact with you then it is best to check with them to confirm whether this new contact is legitimate. Your company will also have procedures about the authorisation of purchases.
What to do if you've been part of a gift card scam
It is highly likely that once you've been a victim of a gift card scam that you won't be able to recoup the funds. Scammers act very quickly.
Call the gift card provider immediately.
The company can then add the scammer to a registry of known gift card scammer numbers, and they may be able to compensate you. Keep the card and the receipt handy, if you still have them.
If you have been a victim to gift card fraud, please get in touch with the Isle of Man Constabulary by calling 631212. Please also report any scam that you come across, not just gift card scams, on our Cyber Concerns Online Reporting Form. Reporting scams helps everyone to avoid fraud.