University Credit Union is here to help protect you and your money, and we want to help you recognize the signs of a potential scam.


One type of scam that is very popular is called a gift card scam. This scam happens when you are asked to pay a fraudster in the form of gift cards. Victims of these types of scams often find that it is hard to get their money back, because gift cards are considered the same as cash.



There are numerous versions of gift card scams, but here are a few that we have identified:


  • A fraudster claiming to part of the IRS or another government agency asking to be paid in the form of a gift card.
  • A fraudster claiming to be law enforcement, indicating their relative will be released from jail when a specific amount is paid in the form of gift cards.
  • A fraudster pretending to work for a company, such as Walmart or Amazon asking for gift card information to keep your account active or for another reason.
  • Someone contacting you, mentioning a personal hardship, hoping you help them out by paying them with a gift card.
  • Someone on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Ebay requesting payment for a purchased item in the form of a gift card.
  • Someone asking for gift cards as a payment for a security deposit on an apartment.


To help keep you safe, here are some tips to help you avoid gift card scams:


  • No reputable company or government agency will ask for payment via gift card.
  • Never provide gift card numbers or information to anyone over the phone, text, or email.
  • If you purchase a gift card, keep the receipt.
  • Only buy gift cards directly from retailers, chain restaurants, or other issuers.
  • Do not click on any link in an email if you weren’t expecting the email.


What to do if you are contacted by a fraudster:


  • Hang up the phone, or if they email you, delete the email.
  • If you have any doubts that the call or email you received was legitimate, contact the company yourself.


What happens if you become a victim of a scam?


  • Call the merchant where the cards were purchased to see if they can be deactivated.
  • File a police report with your local law enforcement.
  • Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Concerned you're a victim of fraud?

Call us at 800.UCU.4510 to report it immediately! We'll review your account with you and assist with any security questions.