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According to a survey by AARP, the advocacy group for older Americans, around 1 in 10 people have been victims of gift card fraud.
In these scams, criminals convince audiences that they need to buy a gift card, sometimes called an electronic voucher, to pay bills, taxes, or other financial obligations. The fraudster asks for the information on the back of the card so that they can collect the prepaid value.
Gift cards have been high on the list of reported fraud payment methods every year since 2018, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
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Americans lost $ 245 million to gift card fraud during that period, with the typical person losing $ 840, according to the FTC.
About a third of adults say they or someone they know has been asked to purchase a gift card to help pay a bill, fee, or debt. This is the result of the AARP survey, in which 1,000 adults aged 18 and over were interviewed.
The main reasons people were asked to use the payment method were to pay a fee, often related to winning a major lottery or sweepstakes, and handling a Social Security number or account problem.
According to the AARP, 11% of those surveyed bought the cards as they wanted.
Fraud cases have increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. The perpetrators have fallen victim to the Americans by selling counterfeit Covid medicines and treatments and, for example, by identity theft related to unemployment benefits.
Americans have lost nearly $ 400 million to Covid-related fraud since January 2020, according to the FTC. Nearly 237,000 people have filed a fraud report with the typical person losing $ 337.
The real number is likely higher as these numbers only reflect crimes that are voluntarily reported by consumers.