eBay Gift Card Scams: How They Work
Beware of many eBay gift card scams happening, especially this time of the year. Let’s take a more in-depth look.
eBay is a platform where millions of people order gift cards as presents for their family and friends. At first glance, nobody would think that these transactions can be attractive to scammers. But, in fact, they really are. Since gift cards are valuable, they are just like cash, so scammers can easily take advantage of you and steal money.
It happens when a person buys a gift card and gives it to somebody else to use it. It means the money cannot be brought back. Here is a full list of common gift card scams.
Scammers make use of these situations and get gift cards for themselves. So, if a person asks you for payment by gift card, you can be sure that he/she is a scammer (here is a full list of eBay scams).
However, eBay gift card scams are becoming more frequent. To improve your protection and safety on eBay, we decided to make a list of the most common eBay gift card scams. We will add some solutions as well in case you fall prey to criminals.
1. Fake Listing Scams
First, let’s start with fake eBay listings. When this kind of eBay scam is in question, criminals offer a product online at a low price, attracting many buyers. The excuse for such a low price is that they must sell it as quickly as possible.
If you choose to buy their item, the scammer will ask you to pay through one of the following services, which will transfer them the money:
- eBay Gift Card
- Western Union
- Direct bank transfer
- PayPal MyCash Card
- iTunes card
- Walmart card
- RELoadit card
- OneVanilla card
The majority of cases that have this ending are related to car sales (here are 7 variations of the eBay Motors scam). Our advice is never to pay using eBay gift cards. Do it only on the official eBay.com website and avoid any type of eBay car scams (such as the eBay vehicle purchase protection).
2. Business Email Compromise: eBay Gift Card Payment
COVID 19 caused millions of people to start working from home. These employees can quickly become victims of scammers who find ways to take advantage of this situation. The cases of business email compromise (BEC) attacks have been increasing nowadays, and scammers have changed their strategies.
They present themselves as the victim’s company’s CEO or another executive – as in this accounting scam. Then, they ask the victims to buy eBay gift cards, stating different reasons for doing so, including an employee bonus or a vendor payment.
3. eBay Gift Cards For People Affected by COVID-19
Another way scammers use the Coronavirus pandemic is to present themselves as grandchildren, cousins, or friends who are ill.
They ask their victims for money or to buy gift cards for them. Of course, they will always say that this has to remain a secret and must be done as quickly as possible.
This fast action aims to avoid further questions. Our suggestion is never to send money to a person you do not know.
Watch out also for eBay seller scams.
4. Job Offers Paid With eBay Gift Cards
People are always into finding ways of generating a comfortable salary. Online job opportunities are especially attractive to scammers, as they found methods to profit from this trend.
What they do is offer their victims a home-based job with eBay. The next step is to ask them to buy gift cards, and they will provide various convincing reasons for that. Upon purchasing these gift cards, you will be asked to give them codes so you can be compensated. If you do so, you will become an eBay gift card scam prey. Watch out for these job scams.
Do not accept this type of offer unless the job opportunity is posted on careers.ebayinc.com. That’s where all eBay job offers can be found. Furthermore, you will never be obliged to purchase gift cards.
5. Tech Support Calls Are Most Common eBay Gift Card Scams
When tech support scams are in question, the number of possible scenarios is vast. Let’s talk about some of them.
Scammers pretend to be tech support agents such as the ones in this Microsoft scam. They say that something is wrong with your computer. During the chat, they tell you that they have discovered that your computer is infected by malware. Also, they say they are linked to eBay and can help.
To provide you support, crooks claim to offer support via remote access to your computer o perform specific tests. For “fixing your computer”, you will have to pay in eBay gift cards. But wait, there is another variation of this.
eBay gift card scams also involve advertisements or pop-ups on your screen. These notifications have a number you are supposed to call if you want the malware removed from your computer. Upon reaching them, they will convince you that they have performed the needless repair. You will be fooled and pay for their ‘fake’ services, again in gift cards.
6.Television Service Scams
Scammers go as far as to pretend to be service providers who offer you a television package (DirecTV scam) for an excellent price because they are partners with eBay. To convince you that the offer is not fake, scammers even come to your home to provide their services.
If you accept their offer, you are asked to buy eBay gift cards and provide them the codes.
On the other hand, beware of eBay Buyer scams.
7. Phone Call Scams
People had reported numerous instances when scammers used fake caller ID information to attack their victims. What they want to achieve with this is to make victims believe that they are talking with someone they trust. In this case, they pretend they are eBay Customer Service agents, while your call display shows “eBay”.
This scam is known as the Caller ID spoofing. After you receive the call, they will say that your eBay account is compromised or not active anymore. The only way to reactivate it is to buy eBay Gift Cards, they say.
Keep in mind that eBay agents will never demand their clients to purchase gift cards for that. Similar schemes occur in typical IRS scams or the CRA Call Scam. This takes us to the next type of eBay gift card scam.
8. Social Security Scams
This is not as frequent as those previously mentioned, but it happens occasionally. We decided to include it in our list.
Getting an unwanted call from the government is not something you expect to happen. So, if you are not familiar with the problem the caller talks about, you need to be suspicious. There are tons of Social Security scams out there.
You must not give out personal information over the phone, even if the caller tries to convince you that he is calling from the government.
The scammer will try to convince you to pay a ‘fake’ fee using gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers, cash, or internet currency. You should report it to the Social Security Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov.
9. Family Emergency Scams
People are vulnerable when family members are in question. It is not uncommon that they don’t think clearly when somebody tells them something terrible happened to their loved ones.
There were instances when scammers called people to inform them that their family members are in trouble. They would even pretend to be lawyers and will ask for eBay gift cards. Here is an article about fake law firms.
Occasionally, a scammer could even make his victims believe that he is a family member. Remember the Grandmother scam?
eBay Gift Card Scams: How To Avoid
In case you are contacted by phone, email, social media, or online and forced to provide your personal details or gift card codes, you must not do that.
These eBay card gift scams are usually related to personal financial needs. Victims are required to act quickly. If you notice that a caller asks for payment via gift cards, you can immediately become suspicious.
Never accept to give them the gift card code. As soon as they get it, they will vanish with all his/her promises. We will provide you with a few steps you can take to make sure your eBay Gift Card codes are protected from scammers:
Take care of your eBay Gift Cards as you do with your cash. You should not give or send your eBay Gift Card code to a person outside of eBay.com checkout.
Also, you should not pay for anyone’s services outside of the eBay platform. You must be familiar with the fact that eBay Gift Card can only be compensated at checkout on eBay.com.
Never give your personal information to a person claiming it is an eBay representative. In case your eBay account has to be updated, you will receive a notification in your Messages folder in My eBay.
Top 5 eBay Scams Video
Watch the video below to see the general Top 5 eBay scams exposed:
Are You a Victim of The eBay Gift Card Scam?
Is it too late? The first thing you can do is to contact eBay Customer Service. This has to be done as soon as possible. You will be asked to provide that department with all the information they need. Send an email to email@example.com.
You should keep the eBay Gift Card itself and your receipt for them. This will be needed to verify your eBay Gift Card.
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