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Counterfeit gift certificates

Many receive fake coupons and messages. Recently, NS&I alerted users to take precautions and watch out for fraudulent emails that ask them to enter details to claim a guarantee, lottery or gift. Many such emails ask the users to enter online banking details. 

Some messages claim they won a hundred pounds of vouchers from Asda or other reputed brands. In one such case, the user was offered the chance to claim a gift voucher by filling out a marketing survey, but the page redirected to a malicious site when they clicked on the survey. 

There are some text messages and emails which attempt to get the personal details of the users. These messages offer vouchers/certificates, giveaways, lottery draws, money-off promotions and reminders to collect a package. 

How Does It Happen?

  • One can get counterfeit or used cards at auction sites.

  • Sellers overstate the value of the cards on their websites.

  • Sometimes, the scammer uses stolen credit cards and sells them for cash. 

  • There are other ways the crooks may work. For example, they may swap the cards they stole on the previous trip, and the clerks do not realise it is a used card and give them its full value. Sometimes, the criminals replace the new cards with old ones, which get activated when sold. 

How To Protect Yourself?

  • If you get gift certificates, ensure it is valid and accepted by shops.

  • Do not buy online- One can buy it from a retailer or a reputable firm instead of an unauthorised seller online. Always carefully examine the card before buying it. 

  •  If you see the PIN, ask for a different card and do not buy tampered ones. You can ask the cashier to scan it to ensure it is valid and reflects the balance. Also, keep the receipt as proof of purchase. 

  • You can register the card with the website to check all the related data and report in case of any issues.

  • If you are offered any certificate, look for related reviews to identify the offers or benefits with a bad reputation. Do not provide your social security numbers and relevant details to get the ticket. 

How To Identify a Scam?

  • Unknown firms are offering certificates that you have never heard of before.

  • The certificates are offered at a lower price than in the marketplace.

  • The texts on the certificates are not printed properly, have errors/ mistakes, and do not have the needed security features.

How Does It Happen?

  • If a fraudster sells a forged gift card or certificate – the business or the consumer will suffer a loss, so one should try to find out if the cashier accepts the gift receipt.

  • If the coupons are fake, the stockist will lose out when they try to redeem the voucher from the brand.

  • If you suspect fraud, raise concerns and inform the local authorities.

Date Published: Sep 13, 2023

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Cybercrimes can be of two types. First, it can be cyber dependent, where the fraudsters use online devices to convince the victim to accept their offers.

Advance fee fraud

If you are trying to get a loan for a house or a car, they ask to meet the provider to get the financing arrangement and pay the finder's fee in advance.

Corporate fraud

Corporate frauds can be complicated, committed either by the firm or an individual. Nevertheless, it mostly involves cheating where the employee or the firm.

Individual fraud

There are many types of individual frauds related to advance fees, investments, insurance brokers, bogus tradespeople, Ponzi schemes, pension liberation.

Online fraud

Hence the number of cases of online fraud is increasing each year, and most such cases include – account takeover, direct frauds, or scams related domain names.

Identity fraud and identity theft

The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.

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