an exciting project – Royal Examiner
Over the past few weeks, Walmart has cracked down on gift card scams, working with the Department of Justice to return money to those scammed. Even with these efforts, fraud remains rampant and gift cards, in particular, pose a serious risk.
Walmart has taken a proactive approach, notifying authorities of suspicious transactions and leveraging a “victim-assisted consumer fraud program” that the company says is unique among retailers. Federal officials called Walmart’s actions “impressive.”
Often fraudsters pretend to be an authority, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the police or a hospital. They convince people that they owe money to the taxman and might “threaten” to throw someone in jail. Or the scammers might pretend to be hospital administrators, claiming that a loved one will die if the victim doesn’t pay. To make the payment, you are supposed to send gift cards.
Unfortunately, some people fall into the trap of high pressure tactics. Scammers frequently target the most vulnerable among us, including the elderly. Often fraudsters are looking for the names of relatives, such as grandchildren, which makes their lies seem real.
So why specifically gift cards? They are difficult to track and there are fewer protections for people who buy them. Once paid, it is difficult to get the money back and difficult to cancel the gift cards.
With banks and credit cards, it is often possible to reverse payments. Once the scammers have the gift cards in hand, they can sell them for cash, usually at a discount, or they can purchase products online.
So what can you do? It’s smart to show old people stories like this. Demonstrating that other people are being scammed raises awareness. Also, any time someone asks someone to pay in gift cards, it’s a massive red flag.