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Gift card scams on the rise as the holdays approach

As the holidays approach, gift-card scams are on the rise.

The scammers call, and make claims like “You will be arrested” or “Your account will be frozen” if you don’t buy specific gift cards, and send them.

“Don’t buy gift cards, unless you’re giving them as gifts to family or friends,” said Perrell Grossman, the director of the North Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Division. “In all other circumstances, where someone is asking or insisting that you make payment with gift cards — or multiple gift cards in some instances — it is always a scam, without a doubt.”

Grossman said over the past few weeks, his office has received 9 reports of victims of these gift card scams – with the losses totaling $45,000. He said his office has been tracking the amount of “government imposter” scams for the last two years.

“We have 194 victims of that scam, who are out almost $51 million,” Grossman said.

Grossman said there are also the very-popular “romance scams.”

“There have been 20 victims,” Grossman said. “Those 20 victims alone are out almost $3.6 million.

Grossman said the scams have horrendous consequences.

“The sad thing about this is, these victims will empty their savings accounts, and even get bank loans, or run up credit card debt, until they literally send everything they have, and are left without any funds,” Grossman said. “It is such a sad story.”

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