In recent times Google Play gift card scams are on the rise and many people have received emails that look genuine, but in the end, those emails are from internet fraudsters, and many innocent people have fallen for these emails. Have you received an email that appeared to be from Amazon? Or any other legit website requesting you to confirm an order you didn’t make or claim expensive items you did not order?
Often, these emails come with a mouth-watering and irresistible offer that no legal business can offer in the natural world. And they will include a customer service number you can call to make the email looks more professional. Calling the customer number or responding to the email may result in you losing your precious gift cards since gift cards are a form of payment scammers used to defraud naive individuals. One of the most common gift cards these scammers target is Google play gift cards.
Google play gift cards are typically used to buy apps, games, movies, subscriptions, and other items online. Still, if your Google Play gift cards get into the hand of an internet fraudster, it can result in you losing money or credentials.
How Do Google Play Gift Card Scams Work?
The most common form of Google Play gift card scams starts with scammers pretending to be well-known businesses such as Amazon, Google, etc. Gift card fraudsters can call, text, or email you that your account on their platform has been suspended and need urgent attention to reactivate. The email usually comes with the pressure to buy Google Play gift cards and send the Pin to them before they can reactivate your account. Don’t fall for their scam email because if you do, they will do the following with the Google Play gift card number you sent to them:
- Sell the gift card(s) online.
- Buy items with a gift card and sell those items online.
But that’s just one variation of a Google Play gift card scam. Scammers can also use the following methods to trick victims:
Google Play phishing emails
Scammers can mimic the format and tone of emails from Google Play card stores like Amazon and PayPal and send users fake promotions or discounts. If the users who received the emails click on phishing links within the email, then the scammers can steal their credit card details and use them to purchase items online.
Impersonating Google Play administrators
Some scammers appear to be Google Play administrators and say that a victim’s account is affected or has been shut down. They say that the only way for the user to get their account back is to pay a cost using a Google Play gift card.
Payments using Google Play gift cards
Scammers also convince victims to pay payments with Google Play gift cards. Scammers could pressure buyers to share Google Play gift card numbers as payment in negotiations to purchase a car or other products on the internet.
Why Do Scammers want your Google Play Gift Card Numbers?
Scammers are particularly fond of gift cards, such as Google Play gift cards, for payments, and this is due to the distinctive characteristics of these gift cards. They come with the following:
- Poor tracking: Unlike typical products, storefronts such as Google Play gift cards cannot trace every gift card. After the card has been activated, it’s not more identifiable.
- Lack of protection for consumers: There needs for protection on gift card as much as debit or credit cards are protected.
- Instant transactions: Gift cards allow fraudsters to gain access to money quickly. People may not realize they’re being targeted until it’s too late.
- No physical Swiping: Closed-loop gift cards don’t have to be swiped physically. Scammers require only the card’s number and activation number or PIN to use the cards.
- Simple cash-out methods: Scammers can use gift cards to transfer illegally acquired cash or to use mules to buy items online using gift cards on behalf of their clients.
8 Ways to Spot Google Play Gift Card Scams.
- Government representatives
Fraudsters pretend to be officials of government agencies like the IRS, CBN, EFCC, and the rest in other to appear more legit. They threaten their victims with “blocked accounts or even arrest” if they don’t hand over a gift card. Victims often give in to the threats from these scammers because they fear losing access to their accounts or being arrested. If anyone call, text, or email you with a threat to shut down your phone or bank account if you don’t pay with a gift card, know that it is not genuine; the message is from scammers.
Besides posing as government agencies, scammers can also call their victim on the phone to impersonate the victim’s banks, claiming their bank account, credit card, or debit card has been deactivated and demanding a gift card pin to reactivate the account.
3. Family or Friends
Information about you and your loved ones, such as names and phone numbers, can be harvested by cyber criminals in several ways. They steal your identity and then use it to set up fake social media accounts to contact their victims and ask them for money. Victims comply because they believe the request comes from someone they can trust.
4. Business Vendors
Fraudsters can also learn details about their targets’ workplaces, allowing them to pose as bosses or colleagues. One tactic used by fraudsters is to request gift cards, either as payment to a merchant or as holiday presents for a business associate
5. Tech support
Scammers may also adopt the guise of technical assistance representatives and offer to “repair” or “delete a virus” from a victim’s PC. The fraudster asks for a Google Play gift card as payment for the fake services they provide.
6. Romantic Affairs
Some scammers go a step higher by preying on people seeking relationships online and on dating apps. They pretend to be seeking love too and make their victims fall in love and later demand the victim to send a Google Play gift card to them so that they use it to settle family problems or pay a lawyer handling their divorce case in court.
Yes, it is possible to win a lottery online but only on legit businesses. Scammers now send messages to their victims that they won a lottery but need to send a Google Play gift card to claim the fake lottery won.
8. Fake Website
Scammers can also set up fake websites that accept gift cards as payment. They sell cars and other products, preying on innocent buyers who will buy such products, but in the end, the products do not exist; they only launch the website to seal people’s gift cards.
What can you do to Prevent Google Play Gift Card Scam?
Scammers don’t rest; they always look for loopholes in their victims to steal their money. So, you need to stay vigilant always. The following tips will help keep your Google Play gift card and other gift cards away from fraudsters.
- Exercise Caution in Payment. Know that once there is urgency in payment online, it is a red flag. Please don’t fall for it; scammers always want you to respond to their requests quickly. Take your time before you pay online using your Google Play gift card.
- Do your research. Whenever you receive a suspicious message from either bank or government agencies claiming you owe and need to pay. Do some background checking to know the authenticity of the message you received. And in most cases, such agencies have an office close to you; you can take a walk to their office for more details and the message you received. Also, there is no reason why any institution would ask for gift cards instead of money.
- Keep receipts from gift card purchases. Your Google Play gift card receipts can help authorities and Google launch an investigation if your gift card is stolen. Though, according to Google, you may not get a replacement for your card but reporting it will help prevent other people from falling into the same trap.
- Only redeem Google Play gift cards in the Play store. Ensure to redeem your Google Play gift card on the Play store alone and use it as soon as possible to avoid being stolen.
- Sell unused gift cards only to legitimate gift card resellers. Sell or exchange your Google play gift card for cash on a legitimate website alone. You can quickly trade your Google Play gift card for cash on Snappy Exchange.
How to Report Google Play Gift Card Scams
You can report the Google Play gift scam to your local police authority or report the fraud directly to Google. You can report the Google Play gift card to Google directly using this dedicated contact form, and if you have a Google account, you can also report the scam through your account.
Final Note on Google Play Gift Card Scam
Scammers prey on people’s generosity by coming up with ever-more-fanciful excuses to part them from their gift cards. These scammers always prey on victims’ anxiety over a looming deadline for making a wire transfer. Criminals always provide a lame reason for not taking cash, checks, or credit cards. They often use false claims of urgency to get you to pay them without fully understanding what you’re paying for. It’s a red flag if someone you’re dealing with insists that you pay with a gift card right then and there. Be vigilant!