Gift Card Scams

It’s very important to remember that hackers and scammers don’t take breaks – and this pandemic has proven to be the perfect opportunity for them to shine…

While we are understandably focusing on our finances, businesses, jobs and most importantly, our health, hackers are patiently waiting for us to take our guard down for just a minute so that they can steal our personal information and files.

One of the most popular ways they have been doing this is through Gift Card scams. This happens by scammers sending phishing e-mails, disguised as our colleagues, managers, bosses or even our family members, requesting for us to buy gift cards for them for various reasons.

For example, you receive an e-mail from your team leader that says: “I’m rushing to a meeting and I need a favour – Can you buy a couple of Gift Cards for me please as I’m going to give them to the team to celebrate the targets met for this year. Please send me the receipt with the codes so I can pay you back! Thanks, mate.”

Typical phishing e-mail. The problem is that Gift Card scam slips through most anti-phishing solutions as they don’t contain attachments or even links to click – this makes it very dangerous because the e-mail looks very real.

Scammers would change the “From:” line of the e-mail to show a name you are familiar with, but if you click on the name, it is actually not the right e-mail address.

The best way to prevent a Gift Card scam from happening is through awareness and verification. Upon receiving an e-mail that requires you to give a financial favour to someone, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the request unusual or unexpected?
  • Does the e-mail look suspicious?
  • Is the person asking the favour generally in regular contact with me?
  • Do I have the person’s phone number?
  • Will I see this person within the next couple of hours?

Always verify the request either through a call or in person. It does not take long to buy Gift Cards, which means that you can have the pages opened, and waiting for confirmation to buy and send them to the person within 5 minutes.

And please don’t think “it won’t happen to me” or “why would they come after me”, because we all probably would rather be safe than sorry!

If you have any questions, queries, or require more information, don’t hesitate to contact us!