Often, many victims have tendered complaints about their ugly experiences with scammers involved in a variety of requested payments with gift cards. Scores of those complaints mentioned that the scammers specifically wanted payment through Google Play gift cards which made them give out the code at the back of the card. These scams can come in many different ways and the main purpose is to drain the money in the card and leave the victims with useless cards. One important fact to note about google play gift cards is that they can only be used to buy apps, games, books, and movies through the Google Play Store and anyone who convinces you to pay them using your google play gift card, is a scammer. You will see the five common google play gift card scams you should be wary of.
Five Common Google Play Gift Card Scams
- FIRS, SIRS, or Government imposter
You may receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Federal/State Inland Revenue Service(FIRS/SIRS), the police, or another government agency. If this caller attempts to scare you into purchasing gift cards as payment for back taxes or other legal issues, hang up, this caller is a scammer. This is a scam even if the caller knows and calls out some details of your confidential documents. The caller may become hostile or insulting, threatening you with arrest, or the suspension of your business or driver’s license. Under no circumstances will the FIRS, police, or any other government entity accept payment in the form of gift cards to resolve tax or other legal issues.
- Email Messages
You might receive an email from a friend asking you to do a task or favor by purchasing Google Play gift cards and emailing them the redemption codes. While the sender’s name and email address may appear to be those of a family member, friend, or colleague, this is a sophisticated phishing scam disguised as a legitimate request from someone you know. Do not purchase gift cards and then respond with redemption codes. Do not respond directly to the email sender or click on any links in their email if you want to confirm whether or not the request is legitimate. Instead, contact the person requesting the gift codes in person or via another means of communication (e.g phone call).
- Reduced-priced goods or services
Someone may entice you with a great deal and a significant discount if you pay with a Google Play gift card rather than a credit/debit card. They may also claim that there are problems with a recent credit/debit card payment you made and that you must pay with a Google Play gift card instead. This is not real, it’s a scam, do not reveal your card to them.
- Family Emergency
A caller may claim to be a family member in distress (or an attorney or representative of a family member in distress) who requires money in the form of gift cards to alleviate their emergency. The caller may try to persuade you not to contact the family member in question to validate the claims, don’t believe them, it’s a scam. Once you buy the gift card and send it to them, you will never hear from them again.
- Technology Support
You may receive a phone call from someone claiming to be tech support or a computer software company requesting Google Play gift cards as payment for computer repairs. Alternatively, you may receive an email from a computer software company requesting that you call them for them to protect your computer from harmful viruses or to repair a program you use. The email could be infected with a virus that causes computer problems. When you call, they will ask for payment and may claim that your credit cards have also been compromised because your computer has been compromised. They will then request payment in the form of a Google Play gift card.
The bottom line is that it’s a scam if you’re asked to pay someone with a Google Play gift card in exchange for goods or services. Using Google Play gift cards to pay for anything other than the Google Play Android app store is a violation of Google Play’s Terms of Service.
It is critical to understand that all of the strategies described above are scams. Scammers may instruct you on where to buy Google Play gift cards (e.g. Walgreen Walmart, etc.). Scammers may try to discourage you from talking to or answering questions from store employees, colleagues, friends, or family members.
If you find yourself in any of the situations listed above, or something similar, you may be a victim of a scam. Don’t buy gift cards and then redeem your gift cards to the requester over the phone or in writing. If you do, your money will most likely be gone.