Caller to BBB: “I got a phone call that I could save big money on my phone bill. It said that Spectrum and Apple have arranged a new cell phone service that costs half of what I am paying for my phone now. If I pay now for a year in advance, I will save over $500! To take advantage of the deal I need to go to the supermarket and buy $450 in Apple gift cards. Then I photo the numbers on the back and send them to the company. What do you think, BBB?”
BBB says it’s a scam! No legitimate business asks you to pay them in gift cards. The crooks love gift cards because, as soon as they get the numbers on the back, they can cash them in for merchandise. There is no “deal” with Spectrum and Apple (who have never heard of these guys) but you will pay hundreds of dollars for the gift cards and receive nothing.
These are a just a few of the common gift card scams:
- The caller has a “great deal” but he asks you to pay with gift cards.
- The electric or gas company is going to shut off your home or business, but you can prevent it by sending them payment in gift cards.
- You are in trouble with the IRS or Social Security but can avoid being arrested or prosecuted if you send them gift card payments.
- You can be a “secret shopper” if you buy gift cards from major stores like Walmart and send the card numbers to your “employer.”
Legitimate businesses don’t do this. If someone wants payment by gift cards, the deal is probably a scam and you will lose all your money!
Before you hire or buy, be sure to get a BBB report on the company. Go to www.BBB.org or call (419) 531-3116 or (800) 743-4222.
Source: Dick Epstein, BBB