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Watch out for gift card scams during holiday season

By Elizabeth Kuhn

Frankfort, KY - Attorney General Daniel Cameron has joined the Kentucky Retail Federation and the Kentucky Chamber to launch a new initiative aimed at warning Kentuckians of gift card scams. The new program will provide retailers and businesses with signage to post near gift card displays that alerts Kentuckians to the dangers of gift card scams.

The Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection recommends these tips to avoid gift card scams:
  • Gift cards are for gifts. If you receive a phone call, email, or text message asking you to buy a gift card to settle a debt or make a payment, it's a scam.

  • Government agencies will never ask for payment by gift card. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from a government agency and requiring a payment via gift card, it's a scam.

  • Don't pay online merchants with gift cards from different retailers. If an online merchant requests payment via gift cards from a different retailer, it's a scam.
If you encounter a gift card scam, report it to the Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection immediately at or by calling 1-888-432-9257.

"Scammers are increasingly turning to gift card scams as a way to make quick money," said Attorney General Cameron. "Often scammers will pose as a government official and purport to require payment via gift cards to avoid arrest or settle a fake debt. I appreciate the Kentucky Retail Federation and Kentucky Chamber for working with us to raise awareness about gift card scams."

As part of the initiative, Kentucky retailers and businesses will display signage near gift card displays that provides simple tips for avoiding gift card scams. The signage also encourages Kentuckians to report suspected scams to the Attorney General's Office at or by calling 1-888-432-9257.

"Kentucky's retail community is proud to partner with Attorney General Cameron on this important effort to protect Kentucky consumers, particularly during the busy holiday shopping season," said Tod Griffin, President of the Kentucky Retail Federation. "Scammers have gotten more creative in their attempts to steal from hardworking Kentuckians and must be stopped. Retailers have an important role to play in educating and safeguarding consumers from these malicious and unethical tactics, and we're glad to be a part of the solution."

"It is critical for businesses to have the tools they need to protect their customers," said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts. "This has become a major issue impacting employees of our Kentucky companies. We are proud to partner with Attorney General Cameron and the Kentucky Retail Federation to provide this assistance and draw attention to the many harmful gift card scams we are seeing in our state. As we wrap up the holiday season, we encourage everyone to be diligent and report suspicious behavior."

Kentucky consumers reported losses of more than $600,000 from gift cards scams in 2021. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers nationwide lost $148 million in gift card scams during the first nine months of 2021, and gift cards are the most frequently reported payment method for fraud and scams.

This story was posted on 2021-12-21 09:19:30
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