Gift Card Fraud Prevention

Published on January 27, 2020 and last updated on January 27, 2020

Tips to Help Avoid Gift Card Fraud

  • Walmart Gift Cards can only be used at Walmart stores and Walmart.ca
  • No legitimate Government entity, including the CRA, local police department, or RCMP will accept any form of gift cards as payment.
  • Other businesses do not accept payments in the form of Walmart Gift Cards. For example, you will never be asked to pay your utility bills, bail money, debt collection and hospital bills with Walmart Gift Cards.
  • Do not purchase, sell, or check your balance on online marketplaces – Walmart Canada gift card balances are only available in Walmart Canada stores or by calling 1-888-557-5503
  • If you get a call from a stranger who says that a loved one is in trouble and they ask you to provide gift card numbers to help them, hang up and contact your loved one directly.
  • Don’t always trust your caller ID. Scammers can manipulate a caller ID to look like a legitimate company or government agency.
  • Don’t purchase a gift card if it appears that the packaging has been altered or manipulated. If you have questions about a gift card, ask someone who works at that store.
  • Don’t click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free Walmart gift cards. These are often scams.

Common Gift Card Fraud and Scams

1. Government Agent Impersonator or Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam

  • Scammers call and claim that they are the CRA or other government agency and that the victim owes that agency money. Sometimes the scammers say that the victim will lose their house or be arrested if they do not pay immediately. The scammers then instruct the victims to purchase gift cards and give the gift card numbers to the scammer over the phone.

Common Tactics Used by Callers Committing Fraud

  • They use common names and fake CRA badge numbers
  • They know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number
  • They make caller ID appear as if the CRA is calling
  • They send bogus CRA emails to support their scam
  • They call a second time claiming to be the police or other Government agency, and caller ID again supports their claim

What You Need to Know

  • If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the CRA at +1 800-959-8281. CRA workers can help you with your payment questions
  • If you think you are a victim of fraud report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/ online or by calling 1-888-495-8501

2. The Grandparent or Person in need scam

  • In this scam, the scammer will call a victim and indicate that a loved one is in some sort of trouble (i.e. kidnapped, arrested, etc.). Sometimes, the scammer pretends to be a lawyer or the loved one themselves and asks directly for money. The scammer then instructs the victim to purchase gift cards and give the gift card numbers to the scammer over the phone.

Common Tactics Used by Callers Committing Fraud

  • They call or text from numbers that look familiar
  • They play on your emotions
  • They swear you to secrecy
  • They need the money immediately

What You Need to Know

  • Caller ID can be faked
  • Always talk to someone to verify what was told to you
  • If you think you are a victim of fraud report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre ( http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/ ) online or by calling 1-888-495-8501

Additional Resources:

Avoid Being the Victim of a Scam