Look, Your Boss Isn’t Emailing You About A Gift Card
It’s A Scam
- Did you get an email from your boss asking you for a favor?
- Does your boss need you to send gift cards to pay for an upcoming office party?
Before you go out and pay up, ask yourself: is that really your boss? It could be a scammer trying to get your money.
Here’s how these scams work:
- The scammer sends you an email impersonating your boss, either using a spoofed email address or by hacking into their account.
- They then make up a story about needing your help with something — an office surprise party, a company event, even a simple errand.
- Whatever the reason, they’ll ask you to help by paying them with gift cards, promising to pay you back later.
- But once you hand over the gift card number and PIN, the money is gone.
If you get an unexpected email from your boss asking for this kind of help:
- Don’t pay for anything with a gift card. Gift cards are for gifts, not for payments. If anyone asks you to pay with a gift card, it’s a scam.
- Double-check with your supervisor. Call your boss using a known number — not something that was written in the email.
- Take a pause. Can’t reach your manager? Talk to a trusted coworker or friend. Tell them the situation and see what they would do.
Test scams can also come through as a voice message or a text!
Gift Card Scams
Someone might ask you to pay for something by putting money on a gift card, like a Google Play or iTunes card, and then giving them the numbers on the back of the card.
If they ask you to do this, they’re trying to scam you. No real business or government agency will ever insist you pay them with a gift card. Anyone who demands to be paid with a gift card is a scammer. Read on to learn more about gift card scams.
All Gift Card Scams Have Things In Common!
Gift cards are for gifts, not for payments. But they’re popular with scammers because they’re easy for people to find and buy, and they have fewer protections for buyers compared to some other payment options. They are more like cash: once you use the card, the money on it is gone. Scammers like this.
- If someone emails, texts, or calls and asks or demands that you pay them with gift cards, you can bet that a scammer is behind that call.
- Once they have the gift card number and the PIN, they have your money.
- Scammers may tell you many stories to get you to pay them with gift cards, but this is what usually happens:
The caller says it’s urgent. The scammer says you have to pay right away or something terrible will happen. But you don’t, and it won’t.
The caller usually tells you which gift card to buy. They might say to put money on an eBay, Google Play, Target, or iTunes gift card.
They might send you to a specific store — often Walmart, Target, CVS, or Walgreens. Sometimes they say to buy cards at several stores, so cashiers won’t get suspicious. And, the caller might stay on the phone with you while you go to the store and load money onto the card.
These are all signs of a scam.
The caller asks you for the gift card number and PIN. The card number and PIN on the back of the card let the scammer get the money you loaded onto the card. And the scammer gets it right away.
That’s it, the money is gone and you are left with the loss!
Did You Or Someone You Know Pay A Scammer?
Find out what to do next. If you act quickly, sometimes (only sometimes) you can get your money back. But it’s worth trying.
And if you spotted this scam, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and one www.Anyscam.com