Tips to help avoid gift card fraud

  • Sam’s Club Gift Cards can only be used at Sam’s Clubs or Walmart stores in the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or on-line at Vudu, Inc., WalMart.com or Samsclub.com. No legitimate government entity, including the IRS, Treasury Department, FBI or local police department, will accept any form of gift cards as payment.
  • Other businesses do not accept payments in the form of Sam’s Club Gift Cards. For example, you will never be asked to pay your utility bills, bail money, debt collection and hospital bills with Sam’s Club Gift Cards.
  • Do not purchase, sell, or check your balance on online marketplaces outside of Samsclub.com.
  • If you get a call from a stranger who says that a loved one is in trouble and they ask you to provide gift card numbers to help them, hang up and contact your loved one directly.
  • Don’t always trust your caller ID. Scammers can manipulate a caller ID to look like a legitimate company or government agency.
  • Don’t purchase a gift card if it appears that the packaging has been altered or manipulated. If you have questions about a gift card, ask someone who works at that store.
  • Don’t click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free gift cards. These are often scams.
  • If you think you’ve been the victim of a gift card scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov.


Common gift card scams

The Grandparent Scam
In this scam, the scammer will call a victim and indicate that a loved one is in some sort of trouble (i.e. kidnapped, arrested, etc.). Sometimes, the scammer pretends to be a lawyer or the loved one themselves and asks directly for money. The scammer then instructs the victim to purchase gift cards and give the gift card numbers to the scammer over the phone.

The Tech Support Scam

Perpetrators of tech support scams try to trick victims into believing their computers are infected and they need help. Some scammers pretend to be connected with Microsoft, Apple or a familiar security software company such as Norton or McAfee, and claim to have detected malware that poses an imminent threat to the person’s computer. Other scams feature planted website ads or pop-ups that display warning messages, some even featuring a clock ticking down the minutes before the victim’s hard drive will be destroyed by a virus — unless he or she calls a toll-free number for assistance in deactivating the menace. Such scammers will often ask for remote access to your computer to run phony diagnostic tests and pretend to discover defects in need of fixing. They’ll pressure you to pay for unnecessary repairs or new software, and ask for payment via gift cards.


Additional resources

Avoid being the victim of a scam

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-scams-consumer-alerts

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The National Council on Aging


Reporting suspicious behavior

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

  • Contact the FTC, which handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit https://ftccomplaintassistant.gov/, call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, D.C. 20580.
  • For updates on other types of potential scams, check out the FTC’s “scam alert” website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts