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Common Gift Card Email Fraud Techniques
September 02, 2020
Gift card email scams are among the latest trends in cybersecurity threats. Since many Americans avoid using cash, especially nowadays with the threat of COVID-19, more are turning to gift cards as currency - they’re easy to use, work both online and in person, and are often reloadable. Our growing comfort with using gift cards has made them a target for thieves, many of whom exploit that comfort level for their own gain.
Gift card email scams are on the rise, particularly in business settings. Since many people are working from home, businesses may turn to this method as a convenient and quick way to collect funds remotely - to celebrate a colleague’s anniversary, as a gift for a supervisor, or towards a company lunch or event. That’s one reason why many workers may not think twice about the authenticity of an email from a manager, business leader or executive asking employees or co-workers to buy gift cards and send along the serial numbers and other sensitive information. However, in some cases, that email is coming from a cybercriminal who may use real logos, names, and company language to make the email request even more enticing.
There are a few ways you can protect yourself from these gift card email scams:
Like the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Keep an eye out for misspellings and unusual language in the email. Verify any requests for gift cards in person or on the phone. And, just like with all proper digital practices, ensure that any links in the email actually direct to the correct location before clicking them.
Employers can alleviate the threat of gift card email scams through cybersecurity training for all employees, as well as written protocol surrounding gift card requests. Such policies should limit who can initiate such requests and educate employees on how to spot fakes and report potential scams.
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