In addition to spreading throughout Brazil, the so-called gift scam has also ceased to be exclusively physical and has reached the digital world. For this purpose, gift cards, provided by e-commerce websites and app stores, such as Play Stores, on Android, App Store and iTunes, are used on An apple.
In these scams, scammers convince victims to buy gift cards in order to redeem some prizes later. Next, they ask to inform the gift card usage code, after which, they redeem the voucher and disappear, leaving the person at a loss.
To gain the victims’ trust, criminals use social engineering and impersonate other people, such as a government agent, family member, or romantic matchmaker. Gift cards are preferred by criminals because they are anonymous, refunds are instant, and it is almost impossible to reverse the transaction.
Why are gift cards a digital gift scam?
In credit card frauds, for example, fraudulent charges can be canceled later, but with gift cards, there is no such possibility. It is as if it was a cash payment in the digital environment, once it occurs, it is irreversible and traceability is much more difficult.
Phishing is a tool widely used by scammers to gather information about victims. Criminals tend to focus on platforms with many people and search for the most innocent, adapting the approach to each type of audience, and being able to pretend to be Apple employees, for single players who need help on Steam.
Scams can start in different ways, such as a phone call, text message, or The WhatsAppOr an email or even a fake notification. Although less common, it can also occur within physical stores. The coupons most sought after by scammers are those from large retail chains and digital stores, such as Steam Store and The Google Play Store.
How to avoid digital gift scams
To avoid gift card scams, it is important not to exchange vouchers for goods and services from strangers, and also not to exchange any form of payment from strangers. Never pay extra fees with tickets, especially for something you’re supposed to win. Also avoid paying bills with this method of payment, even if it seems legitimate.
It is important to never respond to strange SMS, emails or calls related to gift cards, and only activate coupons to use this payment method when you are ready to use it.
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