Is it a scam if someone directs you to pay a debt or other obligation with a gift card? The answer is yes – in 100% of cases. But alarmingly, one in four people surveyed by AARP got this question wrong – at a time when we’re seeing an increase in the use of “payment by gift card” as a scam.

Since 2018, gift cards have been one of the most popular forms of payment requested by criminals according to the Federal Trade Commission. Gift cards are easy to access, virtually untraceable and less likely to raise red flags. As soon as the card numbers are shared with the scammer, the money – and the scammer – disappears.

AARP’s survey also found that one in three US adults have either been asked to pay for some obligation with a gift card or know someone who has, and one in ten have followed through with the request. Help spread the word. Any time you are directed to pay a debt or other obligation with a gift card, it is a scam. If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatch network or call 1-877-908-3360.

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