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AARP AARP States Nebraska Advocacy

Nebraska Needs to Stop Gift Card Payment Scams Now


AARP Nebraska is shining a light on the urgent need to stop gift card payment scams in our state. Nebraska Legislature Bill 955 has the potential to do exactly that so long as it gains overwhelming support at the January 30 hearing from State Senators comprising the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Legislative Committee.

Introduced by State Senator Eliot Bostar, LB955 would require entities that sell gift cards or gift certificates to provide notice(s) on how to protect yourself from prepaid card scams on electric payment system screens or in a conspicuous manner where the sale could occur. It would also raise awareness on the risks of gift card payment scams and encourage gift card buyers to think twice before completing their purchase. The Bill would also allow the Attorney General to institute civil action, seek penalties of $1,000 for each violation, and payment of attorney’s fees.

Sen. Bostar shared, “LB955 won’t solve the entire gift card fraud issue, but it does assist in taking the necessary steps forward to warn and protect people before it’s too late. Something as simple as a sign could connect with someone before they send money to a scammer.”

Nebraska State Director for AARP Todd Stubbendieck added, “In addition to posting notices alerting consumers, another measure that should be enacted is the training of point-of-sale employees to educate them on what gift card scams are, how to spot them, and report such instances.”

Gift card payment scams involve an individual or organization requesting you to load money onto a gift card and then proceed to share the numbers off the back of the gift card with them. Examples of this type of scam involve bad actors trying to get payment via gift card for past due bills, upfront fees to collect lottery winnings, government entity account issues, a romantic interest in a bind, or someone claiming to be an employer or family member facing an emergency. The common theme is the requester demands payment with gift cards to resolve the issue and perhaps even threatens the freezing of your accounts or arrest.

A recent AARP survey found that slightly more than 34% of U.S. adults, mostly younger than 50, have been targeted by scams seeking payment by gift card. Of those who were targeted, 24% of them followed through by purchasing gift cards and sharing the numbers off the back, believing they were taking care of some financial obligation. In Nebraska, FTC data reported 19% or 2,249 of the 6,411 fraud reports in our state were due to imposter scams.

Gift card payment scams are some of the most pervasive scams in the country—the statistics are truly staggering. Action is urgently needed. Let’s pass AARP-Nebraska supported LB955 and help raise awareness about gift card payment scams to help stop fraud in Nebraska!

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