Gift Card Scam: Too Good to Be True

Gift card scam warning! Emails offering you a gift card in exchange for answering a quick survey are really phishing attempts. Learn how to identify these scams to protect yourself!

Gift Card Scam! Imagine, finally mustering up the energy to open up your email inbox to tackle the ever growing number "to-dos" you've been putting off.

You've replied to the more critical emails, and then you start to maybe clean out some of the less important emails.

All of a sudden, an email with the subject We'll take 60.00 of your next trip to Whole-Foods catches your eye.

Who wouldn't like a free $60 at Whole Foods? Sounds like an amazing deal, right? Of course it does! If it were real, it would be amazing!

In fact, this gift card scam is just another attempt to:

  • Obtain private and personal information about you, or
  • Infect your computer with a virus or other malware

How Do They 'Hook' You?

Each gift card scam that I've come across seem to have a few characteristics in common. Mainly, they are asking you to do something exceedingly simple, such as answer a short survey.

On top of that, what they offer in return seems like an amazing deal — $50, $100, $200 or more!

You know the old saying, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. This definitely holds true for these types of "offers".

Identify Gift Card Scams with These Dead Giveaways

Do you want to easily identify these kinds of phishing scams? Keep an eye out for these clues.

  • Poor grammar
  • Hastily written or incomplete text
  • Out of character phrases or idioms used in communication
  • Inconsistency with the sender's name and the actual sender's email address

Some Examples of Gift Card Scams

Pictured below are some phishing attempts that were sent to us, or members of our organization.

Whole Foods Gift Card Scam

Below I've highlighted some of the obvious signs that WholeFoods is not giving away these gift cards.

  1. This email is sent from a suspicious domain name:
  2. The subject claims to give you $60 and the email itself claims to give you $100
  3. Unsubscribe text is cut off and sloppy looking. There is also irrelevant weather related text? That is very odd, and definitely out of place. Whole Foods Gift Card Scam

Amazon Gift Card Scam

Here, I've highlighted some of the obvious signs that Amazon also is not giving away gift cards.

  1. This email is also sent from a suspicious domain name: Note the "s" in Amazon.
  2. Why is there no greeting other than Hello? Why is there no message in the email body?
  3. If a reward card is on the way, why would I need to "Grab my gift card" or "Set-up my gift card"? Seems fishy, doesn't it? Amazon Gift Card Scam

What to Do If You Receive One of These Emails?

Typically, to appear more legitimate, these scam emails will also have an Unsubscribe link. As you may suspect, these links are not to be trusted, either.

The best thing you can do if you receive these kinds of gift card scam email messages is to delete it.

You should also share this with your employees or others that may be susceptible to such fraudulent emails.

Get Involved!