Beware of Free Gift Card Phishing Scams


People can’t resist the lure of free stuff. Cyber criminals know this and are always looking for ways to make a quick buck. Put these two together and you have the perfect scenario for a “free-stuff scam.” The only problem is, the victim comes up empty.

Cyber criminals set up a phony website where victims can select gift cards of their choice—absolutely free—just for providing some seemingly harmless information. That information is often collected when the victim visits a third-party site.

Once on the site, the victim answers questions and clicks through the website to eventually collect a code for their worthless gift card. Sometimes users give up along the way, but they’ve already answered a few questions and given information.

Then, the scammer sells their victims’ personal information to third parties and are paid for each click the victim makes chasing the free gift card.

How to avoid this sort of scam:

  • Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch.
  • Always check that the website is secure by looking for the “HTTPS” at the beginning of the website name.
  • Never share your sensitive data or personal information.
  • Do not share questionable links.
  • Check if the offer for free stuff is legitimate by contacting the company making the offer.

In the end, the scammer has made a few bucks and the victim has put their personal information at risk. And, unfortunately, there is no gift card. To help keep you safe, Family Trust offers an ID protection plan. IDProtect is a monitoring service that can help you prevent identity fraud and let you know if it happens so you can act quickly. Our Premier Choice Checking account offers this service for free. To enroll, call 1-803-367-4100 or visit a branch.