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AARP Hawaii: Be On The Lookout For Gift Card Fraud

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Thomas photography
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AARP Hawaii is urging residents to be on the lookout for gift card fraud. Gift cards, also called electronic vouchers, are one of the most common payment methods that scammers request from victims.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that consumers have lost $245 million to gift card scams since 2018.

AARP Hawaii kicked off a series of virtual forums on how to protect yourself from gift card fraud and similar scams with a telephone town hall this past Saturday.

Craig Gima, communications spokesman for AARP Hawaii, summarized the main takeaway from the event.

"Gift cards are just for thank yous. They’re Christmas presents, they’re birthday presents. They are not payment methods," he said.

"If anyone calls you on the phone, or you get an email, or you get something and they tell you, 'We’re from the IRS and you owe taxes, and you’re going to lose your social security, or your electricity is going to be cut off unless you pay right now, and you need to go out and buy an electronic voucher or a gift card,' it’s a scam," Gima said.

AARP Hawaii will continue this series through June. Register for one of the Saturday forums on their website.

"Inside the Mind of a Con Artist" on Saturday, May 22, will give a rare look inside the mind of a master con artist: Brett Johnson.

"After serving seven years in prison, Brett turned his back on criminal enterprise and became a consultant for the Secret Service and the cybersecurity industry. During this webinar Brett will reveal how he became a con man, why he changed his ways, and how you can protect yourself from cybercriminals," AARP Hawaii said.

This story aired on The Conversation on May 7, 2021.

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