How scammers are targeting you using Amazon gift cards

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

Scammers are always looking for new ways to get your money. One troubling trend targets victims using Amazon gift cards. Criminals are using your trust in the company to get in your wallet.

Tracey Sanders is a huge football fan. His love for the game is all over his home. Just before the holidays, he got a phone call from an 877 number that he is familiar with-- DirecTV. 

"They said they knew I was ending my free movie preview, and they wanted to give me the free movie package for a full year. They were going to reduce my cable bill for half for the next 12 months," Sanders said.

He knew his special deal for signing up was expiring soon. He was expecting to pay more, but now they were promising an even cheaper price. 

"They were doing a promotion with Amazon with their gift cards, and if I purchased an Amazon gift card I had to pay four months in advance," Sander said. 

He said he was told to buy an Amazon gift card for $32 and give the card number to DirecTV. 

"Well, I thought it was fishy," Sanders said.

Despite that feeling, he said he was eventually convinced it was a legitimate offer because the callers knew details on his account, and he recognized the number on his caller ID.

But when the mailman came, Sanders' usual DirecTV bill was still due.  

"That's when I called DirecTV, transferred from person to person and then they're like, 'Yeah you've been scammed sorry for your luck,'" Sanders said.

So, he called his credit card company, who said they would reverse the charge for the gift card, but he said that didn't go over well with Amazon. 

"So then Amazon turned around and canceled my Prime account and said, 'Any orders you placed will be canceled and you'll get nothing,'" Sanders said.

He got his Prime account back, but Sanders said Amazon is still challenging the decision to reverse the credit card charge. 

He could still have to pay for the gift card purchase he made trying to get a good deal on satellite TV. 

Police say consumers should be skeptical of any promotion from a company that requires a third party gift card. And just because someone knows your information doesn't mean you have to trust them. To verify if an offer is real, hang up the phone, look up the company's number and call them yourself to confirm.

 

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