Why, robocallers and scammers love gift cards

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Holly Kay, bought eight $1,000 Macy’s gift cards at a California mall because she told her to do it on the Saturday before the Thanksgiving holiday. Forty minutes later, she bought her $13,000 more in gift cards at this store.

The ease with which Mrs. Kay, I was able to complete this purchase underscores the growing popularity of gift cards, the scammers are looking for fast, hard-to-trace ways in order to take the money out of their victims.

With the purchase of several gift cards is often easier said than done to set up a wire transfer, as well as the cards are easily purchased and the numbers can be sent to you immediately either by phone or sms text message to a fraudster that would otherwise have to wait for a large bank transaction, to be clear, the police officers have to say.

The cards are the gift of Mrs. Kay, a 68-year-old, purchased from Macy’s, Inc. among the nearly 120 who have bought them from different retailers all in one week, as a part of a scam in which a scammer tells her that she is helping to catch a hacker had broken into its computer at home.

In the attacker’s direction, and she also spent $19,000 in an hour or so on gift cards at a Nordstrom store. The con-man stayed on the phone with her for the most part, of the business and sometimes had to remote in to her computer, and her coaching is the answer from the ticket office to ask about why they are buying the gift cards.

Gift cards are sold through major retailers have been increasingly used by scammers of all kinds in all flavors of fraud, including the robocallers themselves as the government, civil servants, or, online criminals are as a person, the employer, the police, government officials say. How businesses are responding to the scammers’ acceptance of their gift cards can can vary considerably.


Gift certificates are set out above.
(Getty Images)


The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the Ministry of finance has made the rules to limit the sales of more than $10,000 in gift cards to one person on the same day, unless the retailer has systems in place to flag suspicious transactions.

Still, as shown in [Ms]. Kay’s case, it purchases at the time of bypass, which is the threshold.

A Macy’s spokeswoman, said that it is possible to create a turnover of more than $10,000 in gift cards to a customer in a single day, but it is a “robust anti-money laundering program in place.” The company is working to enhance the awareness of the customers about the scam attempts, and it has given the scam-awareness training for managers, she added.

A Nordstrom, Inc. the spokeswoman said the retailer has controls and policies in place to limit gift card sales to $2,000 per ticket, and $ 10,000 per client per day, and that will take care of the customer is the priority. “We are very sorry to hear that, with each of them. We do take these situations seriously and will work with our teams to see,” she said.

In all of the, Miss Kay, bought for $119,000 in the gift certificates in the direction of the scammers out around the Thanksgiving holiday, ” she said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., that will be issued to the credit or debit cards, credit cards, Ms. Kay uses to pay for most of the gift cards, sent her three separate emails about a suspicious transaction on Nov. 23, and all were being checked, a spokesman for the bank said. Mrs Kay says that they have no record of your e-mails. Chase is compensated for to Mrs. Kay’s for about $115,000, the amount she lost with the help of her atm card and a credit card from the bank.


The retailer shall determine the value of the gift, and sets its own limits on the value of the tickets are sold on a per-transaction or per day. Companies are not always required to collect information such as name or driver license number of the purchaser.

Apple Computer, Inc. added a warning in May to its in-store pos system to tell consumers that scammers sometimes ask the victims to buy gift cards, and the warning was not to give a gift card to a person they do not know.

After this action, the number of reports of scams by victims of that bought Apple gift cards went down in New York City, said the New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Jessica E. Corey, commander of the crime prevention division.

In some instances, the technology, the company will freeze with the Apple Id of the user that is redeemable for gift cards from the company to defendants were obtained by means of fraud, a spokesperson for the police said.

At the national level, the volume of gift cards purchased in the scam, it is very difficult to quantify, as they are used in a variety of scams which usually include wire transfers and mailing cash, or the transfer of the bitcoin.

Click here to read the rest of this story in The Wall Street Journal, which was published for the first time.

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