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If you think you are a victim of a gift card scam, please contact us.

Common gift card scams

Date last updated: October 31, 2023

How you can stay safe

Millions of listings on eBay make our gift cards a great present. However, without knowing the facts, consumers can fall victim to costly gift card scams. Our customers are our top priority and your protection is important to us. We’ve put together the following tips and tools to keep you safe. While the specifics of various scams differ, fraudsters generally follow a common pattern:

  • They reach out to their target by phone, email, social media, or online and create a sense of urgency indicating some kind of personal hardship that requires a quick sale or a limited time of availability.
  • They ask for payment using gift cards from a nearby store or online, and for the gift card code to be given to them. Once they have the code, they disappear, and whatever was promised vanishes with them.

Protect yourself from gift card scams

To make sure your eBay gift card codes are safe from scammers, follow these tips:

Treat your eBay gift card redemption code like cash.

  • Never give or send your eBay gift card code to anyone outside of checkout. That’s a scam.
  • Your eBay gift card can only be redeemed at checkout on
  • Do not use your gift card to pay anyone outside of the eBay platform.

Go to or to learn more about gift card scams.

We will never ask you to email your personal information. Remember, if eBay needs you to update your account or provide any information, we always send a copy of our request to your Messages folder in My eBay. Always check there first.

What to do if you’ve been targeted by a gift card scam

  • Contact eBay Customer Service immediately
  • eBay Customer Service may ask you to forward suspicious emails about eBay gift card you bought to and include the first 9 digits of your eBay gift card in your message.
  • Keep the eBay gift card itself and your receipt for the eBay gift card. We’ll need these in order to verify your eBay gift card.

Report the scam to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) . If you’re outside the United States, you can report the scam to your local consumer protection agency or report it to

Common fraud patterns related to gift cards

Fake listing scams

Scammers list an item online for a very cheap price, and they say that they need to sell it fast. The scammer often asks you to pay through a service that puts the money in their hands quickly, such as these:

We often see this happen in car sales. Find out more about car scams. Never use eBay gift cards as a payment method anywhere except

Business Email Compromise

With millions of employees working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, scammers behind business email compromise (BEC) attacks have adjusted their tactics. Scammers will trick their victims by impersonating their company’s CEO or another executive, and asking them to buy gift cards for any number of reasons, such as an employee bonus or a vendor payment.

For additional information:


Scammers use the circumstances of the coronavirus to pose as a grandchild, relative, or friend who claims to be ill, stranded in another state or a foreign country, or otherwise in trouble, and ask you to send money. They may also ask you to buy gift cards. These scammers often beg you to keep it a secret and act fast in order to avoid questions. Don’t send money unless you’re sure you know the person and that the story checks out.

For additional information:

Job offer scams

Scammers might offer you a work-from-home job with eBay. They’ll ask you to buy gift cards for various reasons, like to confirm that the codes in the store match the codes on file. They’ll ask you to give them the gift card codes so you can be reimbursed. You will not be reimbursed.

Any eBay job opportunities will be posted on and will not require you to purchase gift cards. Learn more about job offer scams.

Tech support scams

Scammers might tell you that your computer is infected. They pretend to be connected to eBay, or other well-known brands, and say they have found malware on your computer. Other scams include ads or pop-ups that tell you to call a number to remove the malware. These scammers often ask for remote access to your computer to run fake tests. They’ll pressure you to pay for unnecessary repairs and ask for payment in gift cards.

Television service scams

Scammers might impersonate service providers, like DirecTV or Comcast, and offer you a cheap deal because they’ve partnered with eBay. Then, they ask you to buy gift cards and give them the codes. Some scammers can even provide service to your home for a short time to make you believe the scam is legitimate.

Phone call scams

Scammers use fake caller ID information to make you think that they’re someone you trust. It’s called “caller ID spoofing.” Scammers can fake anyone’s phone number. You might receive a call from someone who says that they’re eBay Customer Service. They say your account is frozen and you need to buy eBay gift cards to unfreeze your account. eBay will never ask you to purchase gift cards to unlock your account or ask you to provide sensitive personal information. Learn more about caller ID spoofing.

Social Security scams

Be careful if you get an unsolicited call from the government and you don’t recognize the problem they are calling about. Do not give out personal information over the phone. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from a government agency, and they want you to pay a fee using gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers, cash, or internet currency, it is a scam. Report it to the Social Security Office of the Inspector General at

Family emergency scams

Scammers will call you and say that a loved one is in trouble. The scammer can sometimes pretend to be a lawyer or even the loved one themselves. They often ask for money in the form of gift cards and ask you to give them the codes. Learn more about family emergency scams.

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