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‘Sent from my iPhone’: Public warned of extra deceptive gift card scam

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: What you need to know about gift cards'
Consumer Matters: What you need to know about gift cards
WATCH: For those of us who have trouble finding a gift for someone on our holiday list, purchasing a gift card is a popular option. But there are provincial rules around those cards and Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa has a timely reminder. – Dec 19, 2023

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning the public about a new gift card scam that’s so well-crafted, it almost fooled the non-profit’s own staff.

This operation includes an email that appears to be from a friend or family member with a casual and friendly message. One version begins with, “Hi, how are things going with you? Are you busy? I need a quick favor,” the BBB writes.

The email even ends with a “Sent from my iPhone” tag, making it appear extra authentic, the BBB said in a news release.

Click to play video: 'Gift card scam catching shoppers off guard'
Gift card scam catching shoppers off guard

When the unsuspecting person replies asking for details, the scammer writes back stating that they’re trying to buy a gift card for a niece’s birthday, but having trouble with the online purchase while travelling.

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“Could you get it from any local grocery store around you?” the scammer writes. “I’ll pay you back as soon as I am back.”

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If the person buys the card, and shares its PIN number or a photo of the back of the card as requested, the scammer has access to its cash value.

“It’s nearly impossible to get the money back because gift cards do not have the same protections as credit or debit cards,” the BBC says in its news release.

Click to play video: 'BBB warns holiday shoppers about gift card scam'
BBB warns holiday shoppers about gift card scam

The BBB is advising anyone who receives the suspicious email to reach out to their friend directly, calling or texting to confirm whether they sent the email.

It also suggests never doing business with anyone who insists on payment with gift cards.

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