What Should You Do If Youve Fallen For This Scam
Speed is paramount if you think you have fallen foul of this scam. Scammers will want to get rid of your gift cards and get paid as soon as possible. Youâll need to contact the issuing company immediately and hope that the cards have not been redeemed. The chance of getting your money back diminishes once the serial number has been registered.
Explain that you have given serial numbers to gift card scammers and that you have only just bought the cards. Tell the customer services adviser which store you purchased the cards from. They may need to contact them to confirm your claim. The issuing company may also request a copy of your receipt to prove that you have bought the cards when you say you did.
The issuing company may be able to cancel the cards, making them useless for anyone who attempts to register them. In theory the scammer could indeed still get paid by an unsuspecting second victim on the marketplace. Thankfully though, marketplaces are highly regulated and will have buyer protection schemes in place. These will cover the buyer for fake or faulty goods. It will also mean the scammerâs reputation on that site gets tarnished, making it more difficult for them to sell in the future.
Can I Reload My Google Play Egift Card After I’ve Spent The Full Value
Google Play GiftCards.com gift cards are not reloadable. Once the value of the card is depleted, the card is no longer valid. However, we recommend keeping the gift card until you are certain that items purchased with the card will not need to be returned. We offer reloadable cards to corporate customers at OmniCard.com.
What Is Google Play Services
Google Play is the largest app store with three million. The range of Google Play consists of applications and games developed for Android, Googles operating system, and for Google itself. Google Play was founded as Android Market in 2008, but when it started to compete with Apples App Store, the name was changed to Google Play. This also allowed other forms of entertainment to be pushed under Google Play, such as books, movies, music, and news and magazines.
Do you have a Google device? Then Google Play is automatically on that device. You can recognise the app by the triangle, the forward sign, and the colours of Google.
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How The Google Play Gift Card Scam Works
The way the ruse works is that users are tricked into ordering and handing over Google Play gift cards or the numbers on the back to pay for things like computer repairs, unpaid debts, taxes, and even cars.
Money expert Clark Howards Consumer Action Center receives plenty of calls about gift card scams.
Lori Silverman, who manages the center, says you just need to know one thing about the gift card scam:
Anytime someones asking you to pay with Apple App & iTunes cards, Google Play cards or any kind of gift card, its a scam.
The Federal Trade Commission agrees. It says that gift card scams are among the most popular money schemes out there and among the easiest to spot.
Gift cards are for gifts, not payments. Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always a scammer, the FTC says on its website.
What Can You Buy With A Google Play Gift Card
If youve heard of Google, then you most probably know that Google is a very successful company that provides a large variety of services and products globally. A Google Play Gift Card allows you to buy Google Play Store content such as music, movies, audiobooks, games, apps and software anytime from the comfort of your home.
Whether youre using an Android smartphone, tablet or computer, your purchases can be shared across all of your devices so you will be able to use your purchases no matter which device you are on.
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Consumers Fall For Google Play Gift Card Scams
Gift card scams are nothing new, but Google Play gift card scams provide thieves with a different avenue to go after your money. While criminals have long relied on prepaid debit cards or iTunes gift cards for everything from IRS scams to fake online buying and selling, one of the latest currencies is Google Play cards. As a result, Google Play gift card scams are on the rise and may already be targeting you or your loved ones.
You may have already learned about avoiding scams involving iTunes gift cards. These cards, which are only intended to be used for Apple Store purchases became a favorite tool for scammers who demanded untraceable payment in this card currency. Now with more criminals aware of the opportunity, the go-to choice for scammers is quickly becoming Google Play gift card scams. Here are some of the ways scammers target consumer finances by demanding payment through Google Play gift cards.
Every malicious thing you have heard about iTunes gift cards, prepaid debit cards and even wire transfers is also true about Google Play gift cards. , with law enforcement, with medical offices, bogus charities and other plausible outlets, may call and demand payment via gift cards. Remember, no credible agency or company will ask for an untraceable payment via gift card.
Reselling Gift Cards
Balance Inquiry Scams
Protect Card Numbers
Providing Emergency Help
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What You Can Buy With Your Google Play Balance
To see what you can buy with your Google Play balance, select your country below.
- Google Play Promotional Balance Terms of Service
- Maximum limit: 2000
- Maximum limit : BRL 1,500
- Maximum limit : BRL 5,000
- Maximum limit: 2000
Important: If you can’t buy books with your Play balance due to changes in our Terms of Service, contact us for help.
- Maximum limit : 79,000 MXN
- Maximum limit : 79,000 MXN
- Maximum limit : $5,000
- Maximum limit : $10,000
- Maximum limit: 10000000 VND
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Scam Alert: Google Play Gift Cards
If theres a will theres a way when it comes to scammers, especially with gift cards. Everyone loves gift cards. Consumers love how easy it is to purchase gift cards, use gift cards and even give gift cards. Its as simple as buying a card at a brick and mortar store or clicking a few buttons and almost instantly having the funds needed to play. Scammers love gift cards too. Gift cards can immediately be activated and spent by these scammers even before the owner of the card knows what happened.
gift cards are targets right now. Scammers love how easy they are to steal so consumers need to stay one step ahead of these online crooks. Heres one of the latest Google Play Gift Card Scam that is scouring the internet.
Scam Alert: Currently there is an email scam occurring where thieves, posing as someone the recipient knows and are phishing for personal, financial, and other private information. This includes requests for Google Play Gift Cards. For example, the message will read, I need you to pick up a couple of gift cards. Can you make this happen? The type of gift card I need is Google Play gift cards. I need 4 cards in $500 denominationsscratch the back of the card to reveal the card codes and email me the gift card codes.
Take away: Never provide any personal information including gift card codes like Google Play in an email. What seems like the information is going to a trusted source, it could be a scam.
Protect Yourself And Your Loved Ones
It is important to know that all of the scenarios outlined above are scams. Scammers may dictate which store you should purchase Google Play gift cards from . Scammers may discourage you from speaking to or answering questions from store associates, colleagues, friends, or family members.
If you find yourself in any of the situations above, or something like them, youre at risk of being scammed. Dont purchase gift cards and share the redemption codes with the requester over the phone or in writing. If you do, your money is likely gone. If you or a family member has experienced a scam, please immediately report it to your local police department. Victims of scams may be embarrassed to report the scam to anyone, but it can help prevent others from being scammed. You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission on its website or directly with Google by phone at the toll-free U.S. phone number or by email .
The bottom line is that any time you are asked to pay someone with a Google Play gift card in exchange for goods or services, its a scam. In fact, its a violation of Google Plays Terms of Service to use Google Play gift cards to pay for anything outside of the Google Play Android app store.
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Things You Cant Do: Forget About Using Your Card For Fortnite
Fortnite has taken the world by storm, and youll find most teens and even some adults glued to their smartphones playing the night away. And while the game has come to Android, Epic Games has decided to the app store.
What does this mean?
Epic Games realizes that the game doesnt need Google Plays store to be a success, and they dont want to share 30% revenue to be hosted on the Play store. The developer has decided that they dont need the Play Store, so theyre offering their own dedicated installer that works on Android.
The middleman is not required, so the developer earns more money and consumers can save money.
Since Fortnite has chosen to take this path and bypasses the Play Store, you cant use the Google Play gift card to make in-game purchases. If Fortnite is one of your main reasons for buying a gift card, youll definitely be upset about this.
But there is still a lot that you can do with your card, and there are still millions of apps and games that you can use to redeem your Google Play gift card.
IOS users can still download the app on the App Store because Apple doesnt allow for apps to be installed without an internal review process, making the marketplace almost essential.
Android doesnt lock down their system in the same way, so it makes economic sense for the developer to bypass the store, with their massive presence fueling organic downloads from the companys site.
Why Does A Scammer Need These Cards
On first impressions, asking for gift cards as payment for a scam seems strange. When you look into the reasons for doing it though, you have to applaud the creativity, no matter how callous it is.
Traditional scams often involved the scammer taking payment for bogus services via a credit or debit card. Whilst this made their organisations look more professional, there was a problem. It was highly traceable. The scammers were leaving a digital footprint of their criminal activity with every transaction. As all payments were going via the same gateway, the risk of detection and the possibility of assets being frozen was increased.
Card payment for scams was also damaging the reputation of certain money transfer services. Western Union are a company whose reputation has suffered more than most as a result of scammers. With many branches worldwide, Western Union was a popular choice. Previous processes meant scammers could easily get their money with very few questions being asked. As Western Union got wise to this and tightened up their processes, the scammers needed another option. That option was the gift cards.
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Things You Can Do: Buy Premium Apps
If youve seen apps that you have been dying to try but havent had the money to do so, its time to purchase them with your credit. Premium apps are powerful, and these are the apps that have fewer bugs and truly support developers.
You see, free apps come filled with ads because its the only way a developer is able to make their money.
Apps take a lot of time and resources to develop. A lot of the apps you love are made by small teams or even single developers. The ads, oftentimes, barely cover the cost of keeping the app properly hosted online.
Premium apps help support these developers, and it allows for developers to create a better product.
Youll also find premium apps are updated more frequently. Why? The developer is making money, and he or she has an incentive to keep the app running. Free apps definitely make developers money, but there needs to be a lot of users for the app to be profitable.
If you have an app that you use a lot, you can also see if theres a premium version available. When you upgrade to premium, youll be sure to receive a few additional features or the removal of ads.
Its definitely nice to give some of the higher end apps a try if you havent done so already. Not only are these apps rather affordable, but they usually blow away the competition and are more of a professional solution than a free program.
The Endgame Of A Scam
Many scams conclude with the victim buying gift cards for the scammer. The cards are usually Google Play, iTunes or Amazon cards but these can change depending on the scam. Steam cards are also a frequent choice of some scammers. The scammer always instructs the victim to be discreet when buying these cards and tells them not to disclose the reason for purchase. This is so that in-store staff are not alerted to the scam. The amount required by the scammers is usually substantial, often going into the high hundreds of dollars. In 2019, $102.9 million was lost on iTunes scams alone.
Once the victim has bought the cards, the scammer instructs them to scratch off the back panel and read the card serial number to them. Unless the victim decides to redeem these codes quickly on the App Store or Play Store, the scammer can now uses these cards to their advantage.
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How To Avoid Google Play Gift Card Scams
Scammers are out there trying to steal your gift card, and oftentimes, these scammers will use your lack of knowledge to trick you into handing over your gift cards information. Were seeing this with fake IRS scams.
These scams try to trick people into thinking that they can pay their taxes with a gift card.
The IRS doesnt allow this, but people dont know that. Instead, people are just handing over their information willingly, thinking that theyre paying off their tax debt. Primarily older people fall for these scams, but were also seeing younger people falling for them.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about these scams, which in the first 9 months of 2018, caused losses of $53 million.
And more and more people are being tricked.
The number of people that have submitted fraud reports indicating that a gift card was used in a scam rose 270% from 7% in 2015 to 26% in 2018.
Telephone calls are the main form of contact with these scams, and they may include:
- Paying to receive a new Medicare card
- Scams with people claiming to be from the IRS
Con artists will stoop very low to try and trick you into turning over your gift card information. What youll want to do before using your gift card for any odd payment request like those listed above is to do your own research.
Why would you ever use a Google Play gift card to pay the IRS?
Never relay your activation codes to anyone asking you to do so on the phone.
Things You Can Do: Buy Books And Movies
Do you read books or watch movies? If so, you can use your card to buy them. Spend your credits on a book, and after you make your purchase, your book will be added to your library.
Its a digital copy that youll be able to keep forever.
Movies can be purchases if you want to own them. The movie will be added to your library, too. But if you want to stretch out every last dollar out of your credits, you can choose to rent movies, too.
Lets say that you saw a movie based on a book or you started playing The Witcher III. Now, you can purchase a copy of the book, too. Youll find more than enough readers on the app store that will allow you to read your book on your Android device.
And youll never need to lug around heavy, big books again.
You can keep hundreds of books in your back pocket its awesome when going digital. You can also purchase one of the premium reader apps that allow you to bookmark pages and highlight content whenever you like.
Its the perfect way to read books without having to cut down trees in the process.
Television series can also be a great option to buy because youll have access to most of the series that you like at your fingertips.
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Irs And Government Imposter
You may get a phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS, police, or another official government entity. If this caller tries to scare you into buying gift cards as payment for back taxes or for other legal situations, hang up the phone this caller is a scammer. Even if the caller knows and recites the last four digits of your Social Security number, this is still a scam. The caller may become hostile or insulting and they may threaten you with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or drivers license. These are empty threats. Under no circumstances does the IRS, police, or any government entities require payment with gift cards to resolve tax or other legal situations. In fact, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration states on its website that any call requesting that taxpayers place funds on a Google Play Gift Card or any other gift cards to pay taxes and fees is an indicator of fraudulent activity. Do not buy gift cards and provide this caller with the codes under any circumstances.