An eBay gift card rip-off is jogging wild. This is how to stay away from it

Penni Schewe
This eBay gift card scam is hitting people hard.

Right here appear the eBay reward card scammers — and just in time to steal your cash following the holiday seasons. But the Elliott Advocacy group is below as well, warning you about these swindlers so you can stay clear of their lure.

We have obtained lots of pleas for assistance from distraught victims of this certain eBay gift card rip-off through the previous thirty day period. They’ve misplaced hundreds and even countless numbers of bucks to this scheme. These people all want the identical factor: to retrieve their stolen income from the anonymous predators who tricked them.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airways. The mission of Southwest Airways is devotion to the optimum high quality of Client Service sent with a feeling of warmth, friendliness, specific satisfaction, and Firm Spirit. We are fully commited to offer our Staff a secure work atmosphere with equivalent opportunity for studying and particular expansion.

But is there any attainable way to do that?

It is a scam: AT&T is not seeking to get the phrase out about eBay reward cards

Judi Shelton contacted our team immediately after anyone declaring to depict AT&T known as her household, offering a wonderful chance.

I been given a phone from a person who explained he represented AT&T. He instructed me that if I paid half of my up coming six months’ DirecTV monthly bill upfront employing eBay present cards, eBay would fork out the other 50 percent. So I just wanted to buy $450 in eBay reward playing cards to pay my 50 %. The man on the mobile phone explained this promo was to get the phrase out about eBay gift playing cards and it was time-restricted.

When Shelton didn’t instantly bounce at the prospect to help you save $450, the caller sweetened the offer. He could also offer her some totally free high quality motion picture channels. Shelton mulled about the promotion. It sounded straightforward ample and seemed like a fantastic way to conserve $450 and get some totally free Tv set stations. Choosing she could like to participate, Shelton questioned for instructions to seal the offer. The bogus AT&T agent described the subsequent actions she wanted to choose to redeem this minimal time provide. At her earliest benefit, she need to:

  1. Acquire $450 in eBay reward playing cards.
  2. Connect with again the agent at his devoted line
  3. Scratch off the silver tab and read through off the numbers to the agent, who would apply the value of the reward cards to her DirecTV bill

As soon as all of that was complete, eBay would shell out the rest of her DirecTV monthly bill for six months, explained the caller.

Not seeking to let the promo expire, Shelton headed to her local eBay reward card retailer — unaware that she was falling for an costly rip-off.

No cost-free movies involved.

eBay: “It’s often a scam if an individual asks you to use gift cards to pay back your Tv set invoice.”

Quickly Shelton was again household with her newly ordered reward cards and ready to make her payment.

I acquired the eBay gift cards and referred to as the agent back at the amount he gave me. When the human being answered, it sounded just like AT&T. Everything seemed very official, so I gave him my card details.

But just after hanging up, Shelton started off to get a undesirable feeling. A thing didn’t feel correct. In just 1 hour of relaying the reward card figures to the stranger over the cellphone, Shelton referred to as eBay. She requested the agent if the enterprise was working a reward card advertising with AT&T.

The representative instantly verified her worst fear. The reply to her question was “no.” In fact, the agent described, “It’s usually a fraud if a person asks you to use eBay reward playing cards to pay back your Television set bill.”

With a sinking feeling, Shelton recognized that she had willingly handed above the eBay gift card balance to a scammer. She questioned the agent what she could do to get her income back again. The news wasn’t superior. As quickly as the thief had obtained the figures, he experienced redeemed the playing cards, as intruders ordinarily do.

I explained to the eBay agent that I had the receipts and the (now empty) playing cards in my possession. So I asked her to avoid the rip-off from heading by. I assumed they could quit the transaction and get my dollars back again.

The consultant told her that she could not cease the transaction. She advisable Shelton report the fraud to the Federal Trade Fee. Shelton put in a tiny time striving to reason with the eBay agent ahead of she gave up and contacted the Elliott Advocacy workforce.

Is there a way to get my stolen present playing cards back from this thief?

When I browse by Shelton’s ask for for assistance, I currently understood that her income was extensive long gone. For years, we’ve been warning customers hardly ever to share present card quantities with strangers.

Criminals love reward cards since they’re just like hard cash. All the thief requirements to do is convince you to share those digits beneath the silver foil. Their upcoming go is to speedily — usually inside minutes — expend the balance and vanish. Until you are dealing with an inept thief, their actions are practically untraceable.

For its portion, eBay is aware of a range of reward card ripoffs and warns its customers in its terms of use and on the again of the gift playing cards:

[The eBay gift card] is only redeemable for merchandise shown on eBay, when PayPal is approved. Shield your present card like funds.

If a gift card holder willingly shares the redemption code, they’ve violated the phrases of use of the eBay card. In those scenarios, there is not something eBay will do to try out to track down the thief. Our crew also just cannot go after reward card robbers or investigate crimes.

I stated to Shelton why no advocacy applications exist that would allow for us to mediate a refund in her scenario effectively. eBay will not refund a shopper who gave the card quantities to a scammer. And, of class, the scammer is a legal who certainly will not occur ahead and return the hard cash. So that leaves us with no just one with whom we could mediate the case.

Although we would adore to be able to provide amazing tips that would guide to the return of Shelton’s $450, the simple fact is that no these kinds of steerage exists. Supplying away a reward card code is the same as dropping dollars into a black hole or handing a wad of cash to a stranger who then operates off with it.

The base line is that the proprietor of the present card is accountable for safeguarding the redemption numbers.

I gave Shelton the undesirable information, but no quicker had I completed that than a new scenario landed in our inbox. And the focus on of this eBay reward card fraud experienced remained on the hook for much, considerably more time than Shelton.

No, eBay will not inquire you to invest in gift cards to safeguard you against hackers

Mohammad Khan despatched a desperate ask for for help although he was still in the center of becoming ripped off.

I need enable! I bought a $25 gift card to obtain a products on eBay. The transaction stated invalid, so I called eBay purchaser support. The eBay agent told me he just uncovered that hackers experienced invaded my account. He instructed me to buy $600 in eBay gift cards to secure towards this rip-off. He mentioned my information was becoming shared through the eBay servers throughout 5 states. Then, he explained he could fix it, but this essential to be performed proper away.

Admittedly the scheme sounded incredibly abnormal, but Khan claims he was certain he called eBay, and he assumed the agent was telling the reality. The for a longer time he waited to mail the $600 in present cards, the much more time the scammers on the eBay servers experienced to steal his facts.

Khan didn’t realize it, but he was speaking directly to the scammers. The range he termed wasn’t eBay, soon after all. But Khan wouldn’t come across that out until finally it was also late.

A prolonged and expensive gift card fraud

Right after Khan gave the to start with “agent” the redemption code to his eBay present playing cards, he was startled by the man’s response.

“He told me that I needed to invest in yet another present card,” Khan recalled. “This time I refused and I demanded all my dollars back again. He advised me to call back again the up coming working day and he would return my $600.”

Khan states that at that time, he thought he was speaking to an unscrupulous eBay agent. But to his surprise, the subsequent working day, nonetheless an additional representative questioned him to purchase a lot more present cards to resolve his problem. This individual had an even additional convoluted plan that would address all of Khan’s problems and return his money.

He would solve my issue, but he asked me to acquire $400 in eBay gift playing cards to complete the procedure. I bought people then he texted me that he would transfer $1,525 to my credit card account, but I had to invest in a further $500 in eBay gift cards to shell out him back again. He said he despatched $500 much too significantly income to my credit rating card account. I just desired to stop this nonsense, so I adopted his instructions. But no funds showed up in my credit rating card account!

In accordance to Khan, for the subsequent 12 days, these scammers pretending to be eBay asked him for more and more reward cards. He refused additional requests but hoped that they would just return his money. Finally, Khan claims that he belatedly understood that he was not working with an eBay group but with a group of scammers.

“This band of imposters stole $1,525 in eBay gift cards from me!”

Khan was at his wits’ conclude when he reached out to our group.

I have concluded that a perfectly-organized gang of eBay imposters who are working to fraud individuals through present card and credit history card theft ripped off me. In a really upset and determined problem, I am approaching you for right guidance to get my $1,525 again.

Sadly, as we have been pressured to clarify to each individual other victim of these present card ripoffs, there is no way for our group to track down Khan’s cash. It was absent the minute he shared the redemption code with the band of robbers.

Considering that Khan experienced saved the mobile phone variety that he experienced frequently been calling, I advised that he file a law enforcement report and give the cell phone range to the investigators. That range seems to be a landline. The law enforcement may possibly be equipped to do what our crew can’t — observe down the crew of imposters and set an end to their thievery.

Preventing a gift card scam is straightforward if you hold these recommendations in intellect

  • Treat gift playing cards like dollars
    Scammers love gift playing cards for the reason that they are pretty much like paper money. Individuals digits on the again of your gift card are all a thief wants to steal your harmony in a approximately untraceable way. By no means scratch off the protective covering on these figures till you are ready to redeem the card. Handle your reward cards like funds simply because that’s how the issuing organizations look at them. And it is also how robbers view them. If you reduce or give your reward card absent, you most definitely won’t get it again.
  • Present playing cards are not to make offsite payments
    If any one at any time asks you to make an offsite payment applying a present card, you can be certain that you’re talking to a scammer — 100 percent of the time. Though eBay gift card scams are the target of this short article, the steerage remains genuine for all present card models. Gift playing cards are intended to get yourself or a mate a reward, not to make a payment for a utility, to bail a person out of jail, pay a ransom, or to get treatment of any other crisis a creative thief might throw at you.
  • Examine the conditions of your present card
    Studying the phrases of your gift card will support you prevent slipping target to a predator. These situations are generally quickly obtainable for your critique on the back again of the reward card. It’s significant to note that if you violate any of the phrases of most gift playing cards, the organization can revoke them devoid of giving you a refund.
  • Google the cellphone variety
    Several present card frauds originate with a cold call from a thief. These scammers may possibly assert to be AT&T, the IRS, eBay, the police, or other properly-identified entities. Your caller ID could even show the formal name of the firm the callers claim to be symbolizing. Do not slide for it. Scammers can effortlessly change the name that appears on your phone’s caller ID when they contact. You can look at the validity of any telephone quantity by typing the variety into your computer’s Google Lookup box. You will be equipped to ensure whether you are working with an formal organization or not. The figures that Khan and Shelton ended up contacting were being not connected with eBay or AT&T. Had they performed a Google lookup, that facts would have immediately appear to light and saved them each from getting rip-off victims.
  • Don’t purchase present playing cards from unauthorized sources
    Just before acquiring gift playing cards for pals and family, make sure you’re dealing with an official vendor. You can do that by viewing the web-site of the present card enterprise. (Here’s a listing of approved suppliers of eBay present cards.) Acquiring playing cards from 3rd functions or unapproved sellers can be a speedy way to lose your hard cash — no reward incorporated. (Michelle Sofa-Friedman, Elliott Advocacy)

*If you want to go through far more about eBay shenanigans to stay away from, see:  Never invite an eBay vendor to your property. This is why


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