(BPT) - By Martha Weaver, Retail Gift Card Association Fraud Committee Chair
It’s unfortunate, but criminals are smart and getting more sophisticated every day. With so much technology and artificial intelligence (AI) readily available, they constantly find cunning ways to prey on honest, hard-working people. Criminals use different scams to steal money in clever ways, and many use methods that involve debit and credit cards, bank accounts and gift cards.
People love gift cards, which have been the top requested gift in the U.S. for nearly two decades according to the National Retail Federation. And this holiday shopping season, gift cards will be a go-to for millions of people with positive intentions. But just like everyday people love giving, receiving and using gift cards, unfortunately so do criminals.
I am a fraud expert with the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA), a nonprofit trade organization that represents the gift card industry. We have more than 100 of the world’s top brands on our roster, and our mission is to promote positive gift card experiences among shoppers — which includes working with law enforcement to go after criminals and providing shoppers like you with tools that help you spot and avoid fraud, protect yourself and report the crimes.
Here are our top gift card safety tips:
If you think you have been scammed or see fraud happening, contact your local law enforcement or the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or via this toll-free number: 1-877-FTC-HELP. You can also report IRS impersonation scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, visit their website or call 800-366-4484.