COLUMBUS (WCMH) — When it comes to the phone scams that are costing Americans millions of dollars, there is one thing many of them have in common.
The scammer tells the victim to buy gift cards.
But that may be about to change.
It’s called “the gift card scam,” and it happened to Shawncea Colvin, buying a used car online.
“I put $200 on one gift card, and $100 on another,” she told us, sending $300 in gift cards for a used car that really didn’t exist.
It happened to Mary Cullick, after a call claiming to be from Social Security.
‘”They told me to get 2 gift cards, at $500 each,” the scam victim told us last year.
It has happened to so so many others, after getting frightening calls supposedly from the IRS or the sheriff’s department.
Now, one state is trying to put a stop to gift card scams, with a novel approach at the gift card rack.
One thousand grocery stores in Arizona have teamed up with the state Attorney General to put big red stop signs at their gift card displays.
They say gift cards cannot be used to pay any government.
But from the doesn’t that stink file, why it just scratches the surface of these scams.
For starters, other states besides Arizona need to do this.
Second, it only addresses fake government calls.
It doesn’t mention the gift card scams targeting people trying to buy boats, campers, and cars. In those cases the person who claims they have the item wants you to send a deposit with gift cards.
But there is some more hope: CVS and Walmart now say they plan to have announcements in store letting shoppers know they should never purchase gift cards to pay someone selling something online.
That’s a good start.
Remember: Don’t pay anyone with gift cards: They are untraceable and non-refundable.
That way you don’t waste your money.
Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
Like” John Matarese Money on Facebook
Follow John on Instagram @johnmataresemoney
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com