Safe from Scams: Gift card scams

April 16, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Win a $500 gas card by paying just $79.99. Sounds like a scam. And it is.

Postal inspectors discovered this one online while looking for scams that pose a risk to consumers. Here is how it works:

Laura, a United States postal inspector, said, "You would send the $79.95 to the suspect and they would send you paperwork back on how to conduct your own scam."

Victims never received a $500 gift card. They got a blueprint on how to con more folks out of money.

"They would tell you how to place an ad in a newspaper or online advertising this $500 gift card for $79.95 thereby you would get the 79.95 from these victims, so this could perpetuate into additional victims," said Laura.

Inspectors say they are seeing more of these simple scams.

"During tough economic times it's difficult for people to get to their own job, let alone pay for the gas to get there, so a $79.95 dollar payment for a $500 gift card sounds really great to people," said Laura.

So, what should consumers do?

Laura said, "If you're internet savvy looking for bargains, deals or coupons, review these things."

Also, contact the Better Business Bureau.

"See what they advise if they have had any complaints about the company you're looking for," said Laura.

Do a gut check. If there is something that just does not seem right about the company, walk away and do not get involved.


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