Gift Card scams are unfortunately becoming more and more popular. But the rise in Gift Card scams in a work environment have also dramatically increased. And many people are not aware.

What are Gift Card scams?

A Gift Card scam happens when a scammer asks the victim to purchase a Gift Card. After purchasing, the victim then sends on the Gift Card’s details to the scammer.

Once the details are sent, and the scammer has redeemed the Gift Card, the funds are unable to be retrieved. 

More recently, there has been a rise in scams where the scammer impersonates a work boss or company executive to convince the victim to purchase Gift Cards, usually under the pretenses that it is for work and it is an urgent matter.

The scammer is counting on impersonation tactics and the fact that many of us wouldn’t ignore an email from our boss to convince us to purchase Gift Cards.

As Gift Cards are treated like cash, there is less protection than other electronic payment methods like credit cards and PayPal.

A Gift Card scam scenario

Receiving an email or text from your boss or supervisor that asks you to purchase Gift Cards. Usually, the scammer will create some urgency and imply that these are for clients or another work purpose.

Hi Carrie,

I’m on a conference call meeting can’t talk right now but I need you
to get some gifts for some of the staff, Confidentiality would be
appreciated not to ruin the surprise, Kindly text me on my WhatsApp
+44 7300088916 when you get this, for me to instruct you more on what
to get.

Await your response.


Andrew Johnson.

Identifying a Gift Card scam

Before replying to email or message from your boss look out for the following indicators:

1.     Mention of Gift Cards

As mentioned previously, Gift Cards should be used for gifts, not as a payment method. Additionally, it is a unique request for many employees to be asked for. If your boss asks you to purchase Gift Cards, you should be cautious.

2.     A sense of urgency

The message will usually be along the lines of being time restricted or being in an important meeting. The scammer is relying on you making a quick decision under time pressure. This shifts the focus from the request- reducing the likelihood of you questioning its validity.

3.     Text only         

If the message states that you should communicate via text only, then this may be an indication that it is a scam. The scammer wants to limit contact and communication, and communicating via text is the way to do this. If you are in doubt, phone your boss to confirm the request is genuine.

4.     Check the Sender Email Address

Check the sender email address, for all intents and purposes it may look like the email has come from your boss, however if you hover over the email address this may show that it has been sent from an alternative email address.

We hope that this brief article has helped you understand Gift Card scams, especially in a work context. We recommend sharing this with your colleagues and team mates to help reduce the number of Gift Card scams.