Gift Card Scams

Please be advised that gift card scams are on the rise. In these types of scams social engineers commonly pose as a trusted contact – an executive, a faculty member, the president of an institution or organization .  . . etc., and request that you purchase gift cards in connection with a fundraiser, charity or organizational event and provide them with the redemption codes found on the back of gift cards. Once a victim supplies the redemption code, the value of the card is stolen and card use cannot be traced.  

Reported scam details include:

  • This type of scam may occur via email, text message, social media contact or phone call.
  • The malicious actors may state that they are too busy to purchase the requested gifts cards and ask for your assistance in doing so or they may pose as person you know, who is in urgent need of some type assistance via a gift card.
  • Scammers are requesting gift cards from a variety of merchants including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.


  • Closely scrutinize all messages asking you to make a purchase or disclose sensitive information. For tips on recognizing phishing scams and evaluating email messages you receive, please see the following NYU IT Connect article, Phishing, Spear Phishing and Whaling and the following KBase article, Recognizing phishing scams and protecting yourself online.   
  • If you receive a message/call asking you to make a gift card purchase, or asking that you disclose sensitive/confidential information, verify with the requestor via trusted means of contact, such as a known phone number. Do not use a phone number provided as part of the request.
  • If you fall victim to a gift card scam, the FTC advises that you report it to the merchant and to the FTC at