The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s Consumer Sentinel Network reports Tennesseans lost nearly $1 million – over $943,000 – through prepaid gift card scams in 2018, which is a 44 % increase compared to 2017 when scammers stole $653,709 from consumers. Tennessee actually ranks 10th in the country in fraud.
While family, friends, and co-workers may use gift (or ‘reload’) cards to express holiday appreciation, scammers want the cards’ PIN numbers for fast cash, and they’re willing to do and say anything to get those numbers from consumers and victims are especially susceptible during the holiday season.
Tennessee officials are warning consumers of a new and increasingly common scam where callers pretending to represent a federal or state agency contact consumers about a fictitious debt and demand payment in the form of a prepaid gift card or risk punishment. Consumers should remember that no government agency will ever demand payment in the form of a reloadable gift card.