WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly one in three adults say they or someone they know has been asked to purchase a gift card to pay a bill or some other obligation, according to the Gift Card Payment Scams report released by the AARP Fraud Watch Network.

The research is a component of a three-year effort launched to raise awareness of gift card use as payment in scams, a common method employed by criminals to steal money.

The report found an alarming one-in-10 respondents acknowledged they bought a gift card after being asked by someone to pay a bill, another financial obligation or a fee to win a prize.

Gift cards as a form of payment are common across a wide range of impostor scams, but a quarter of U.S. adults report having paid by gift card to claim a large prize, sweepstakes or lottery. Scammers also coerced adults to buy gift cards to settle an issue with their Social Security account, pay upfront for a service or product, to fix a computer or to pay a utility bill.

Other survey findings:

• Adults younger than 50 are more likely than adults over 50 to say they or someone they know have been directed to pay for an obligation using gift cards.

• Most respondents who bought gift cards as requested said they purchased them at big box retailers like Walmart or Target and at pharmacy chain stores like CVS or Walgreens.

For more information, go online to https://tinyurl.com/b5vswcwc.

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