Why Scammers Love Gift Cards: A Look into the Shady Use of Popular Gift Cards

Why Scammers Love Gift Cards: A Look into the Shady Use of Popular Gift Cards

You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you hand someone a gift card? It’s like giving them the freedom to treat themselves to something nice. However, in the shadowy corners of the scam world, gift cards are not tokens of kindness but tools for fraud. From my own experiences helping friends navigate these tricky situations at Warded, I’ve seen firsthand how widespread this issue is. Let’s dive into why scammers ask for gift cards and which ones are most commonly used in these scams. We know you’re asking –

Why do scammers ask for gift cards?

Anonymity and Untraceability

Gift cards are a scammer’s best friend for a reason: they’re practically untraceable. Unlike bank transactions, which can be tracked and reversed, gift cards are like using cash—once you hand it over, it’s gone. This makes it incredibly difficult for victims or law enforcement to follow the money trail.

Wide Availability and Ease of Transfer

Another reason scammers love gift cards is their availability. Anyone can pick up a gift card from a local store or online, and they come in amounts that can suit any scam, large or small. Once a scammer has the code, they can either use it themselves, sell it online for cash, or trade it for other illicit goods. So now you might be asking –

What are the most popular gift cards in scams?

iTunes and Google Play

Remember the time when your neighbor thought he had to pay his taxes with iTunes gift cards? Yes, that happened. Scammers often request iTunes and Google Play cards under the guise of paying for non-existent debts or fees because these cards are like gold in the digital age—easily sold or used to purchase valuable digital goods.


The king of e-commerce also has one of the most sought-after gift cards. Why? Because Amazon sells just about everything. Scammers can either buy goods to resell or simply sell the gift card codes directly on the black market.

Walmart and Target

These retail giants offer another layer of versatility for scammers, as their gift cards can be used for a wide range of products. Plus, they’re as good as cash in the vast number of Walmart and Target stores across the country.

Here are some honorable mentions that have been reported to us more often than once

MoneyPak, Visa Debit Gift Cards, Razer gift cards, all video game cards, Sephora cards, and many more.

Protecting Yourself from Gift Card Scams

Question the Payment Method

If someone insists on payment via gift cards, it’s almost certainly a scam. No legitimate organization will ask for taxes, bail money, or contest fees to be paid in gift cards.

Educate and Inform

Share stories of gift card scams with friends and family. The more people know about these tactics, the less likely they are to fall for them. Also, explore of resources section to see all types of scams that scammers use to trick honest individuals. Click here to find out more.

Verify Before You Buy

If you’re ever pressured to buy a gift card for payment, hang up and contact the supposed requester through official channels. If it’s a family member, call them directly on a known number.

If you ever find yourself on a call that seems off, with someone asking for gift cards under urgent circumstances, hang up and contact Warded. We can help you verify the legitimacy of the request and guide you on what to do next. Don’t let scammers tarnish your good will—stay informed, stay skeptical, and let’s keep our communities safe. Click here to sign up for Warded’s scam alerts and stay one step ahead of the fraudsters.

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Warded Editorial Team

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