The gift-giving season is almost upon us, with people thinking of giving gift cards to loved ones as presents.
Kelowna RCMP is warning residents that gift cards may make good gifts, but scammers see it as the “perfect medium to steal your money”.
“Whether masquerading as police officers, Canada Revenue agents, tech-support personnel, or even stranded grandchildren, scammers will often attempt to get victims to buy gift cards and transfer the code numbers or PINs to them,” police said.
Police added gift cards are popular with scammers are they are anonymous and are basically untraceable, operating like digital cash and easy to convert into cash, merchandise or cryptocurrency.
The RCMP said the most common gift card fraud scenario involves a caller contacting you with some kind of emergency, asking you to go to a store (or several stores) and buy a popular gift card such as iTunes, Google Play or Amazon. The caller then asks you to call them back to give them the card number or PIN on the back of the card.
Once you give them this, the scammer will have access to the money you’ve loaded into the card and the scammer and your money are gone.
“The easiest way is to remember: gift cards are for gifts, not payments,” Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy said.
“Anyone who is trying to demand payment via gift card is a scammer.”
For more information on common scams and frauds, as well as to protect yourself, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website.