• Gift Card Definition, Types, and Avoidance Scams


    How Do Reward Cards Operate?

    A prepaid debit card with a fixed amount of money on it that may be used for a variety of purchases is called a gift card. business gift cards are meant to be used at specific merchants or stores, whereas general-use prepaid gift cards are not linked to any single business and can also be used to withdraw cash from automated teller machines (ATMs).

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    The Way a Gift Card Works

    Gift cards are prepaid debit cards loaded with cash for use at a later time. There are two primary types of gift cards: open-loop and closed-loop. Both types may often be used offline as well as online.

    Many gift cards, sometimes called stored value cards, have a minimum and maximum initial loading amount. For example, a $500 limit and a $10 minimum may apply. In certain situations, gift cards can be used to pay for part of a transaction; cash, debit, or credit should be used for the remaining balance. A lot of gift cards may also be registered online, which lowers the risk of theft and makes it possible to track and freeze the remaining balance in the event that a card is lost. In this sense, some gift cards are safer than cash.

    Closed-loop sales cards

    Closed-loop gift cards, which allow the bearer to purchase anything from that specific retailer, are often advertised by stores. Closed-loop cards are often limited to usage at a single merchant, either in-person or online. However, if a single company owns several locations, it could provide gift cards that can be used at each of its retailers. One such business is Gap Inc. (GPS); all of its partner stores, including Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta, frequently take its credit cards.

    Closed-loop gift cards frequently don’t require an activation fee. Instead of the name of the financial services company that actually oversees the transaction mechanics, the merchant’s logo appears on these gift cards, acting as a sort of commercial advertisement.

    A closed-loop gift card is essentially worthless once the balance is used up because it cannot usually be topped again. Furthermore, a closed-loop gift card’s balance may contain an expiration date that the user must meet. Closed-loop gifts are popular on baby and wedding registries. Many companies now provide closed-loop gift certificates as a bonus to customers who register for their registries.

    Cards that have an open loop

    If anything, open-loop gift cards work like cash—that is, like a credit or debit card that may be used online and at any participating retailer. Many of the main charge and credit card issuers and processors, such as American Express, Visa, Discover, and MasterCard, provide open-loop gift cards. These cards bear the payment processor’s logo and may be used virtually anywhere to make any form of electronic payment.

    The ability to utilize open-loop gift cards much like traditional prepaid cards is an additional advantage. The user can add money on their own because these cards are frequently reloadable.

    Digital Present Cards

    Gift cards were first introduced in 1994, according to Mageplaza, an extension marketplace for the open-source Magento commerce platform. More and more companies are opting to provide digital gift cards to customers in an attempt to encourage them to make larger purchases.

    Upscale department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman provide bonus gift cards to their loyalty program members (who have spent a specified amount during a campaign or over a given time period). However, according to a National Gift Card (NGC) industry survey, physical gift cards still account for 75% of gift card program redemption volume, with digital gift cards accounting for 25%.

    Scams That Use Gift Cards

    Gift cards are becoming a more popular target for scammers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that during the first nine months of 2021, consumers reported losing $148 million to gift card frauds.

    These con games mostly involved con artists asking their victims to purchase gift cards to be used as payment. The consumer provides the con artist the gift card number, thinking they are making a legitimate purchase. The con artist then takes off with the money.

    Another scam involves physical cards that are stolen at a retailer. Con artists manipulate the cards in order to obtain the gift card number. After the card is purchased, the con artists can use it to make purchases and then take the money that the buyer deposited onto the card.

    Con artists love Target gift cards so much that they were responsible for $35 million in losses that were reported in 2021.

    Explain a gift card.

    A gift card is a prepaid card that may be used for purchases and other financial transactions. Gift cards come in two varieties: open loop and closed loop, which have an impact on the card’s limitations on usage.

    Is it feasible to use a gift card to withdraw cash from an ATM?

    You can use the gift card to get cash out of ATMs if the card allows it. Typically, this is restricted to open-loop cards, or cards that aren’t associated with a certain brand or merchant.

    Do gift cards include fees or a date of expiration?

    Depending on the details, a gift card may expire if the money loaded onto it is not spent within a set period of time. Furthermore, there are fees involved with activating a new gift card or replenishing an old one. Numerous prepaid gift cards may also come with monthly or dormant-account fees.

    The Last Word

    Gift cards are useful for online and in-store transactions. You may purchase them as gifts for your loved ones, or you could be eligible to get gift cards as compensation for your purchases from a certain merchant. To avoid expenses and the chance of a gift card expiring, it’s essential to understand how gift cards work and the places they may be used. But it’s important to be on the lookout for gift card theft, especially around the holidays when more people buy and use them for transactions.

  • Crypto Scams: The Top 7 Largest Scams That Rocked the Globe


    Sadly. The cryptocurrency space is nearly always associated with fraud. Due to the prevalence of Bitcoin scams, many individuals automatically associate cryptocurrency with fraud and view Bitcoin as the primary means of theft. It is not an undeserved reputation, and we will go over some of the largest Bitcoin frauds that have occurred in the last several years.

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    There are a lot of frauds in the realm of cryptocurrencies, as we have seen in the past—both recent and distant. Ponzi and pyramid scams, including Forsage and Ethereum Million. The blockchain has seen instances of investment fraud, impersonation, theft, hacking, and pretty much every other method now in use to steal money from people.

    Thus, the general public now frequently uses the phrase “Bitcoin scam.” This is true for any other economic sector, of course, but it is especially well-known in the case of cryptocurrency since it is always being watched by regulators. Thus, we will examine the largest frauds using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in this post.

    Naturally, a lack of knowledge about cryptocurrency is the cause of the rise in frauds. Remember that the initial Bitcoin Whitepaper was published in 2008, therefore it has hardly been updated for a decade. When we start discussing tokens and initial coin offerings (ICOs) and add all of Ethereum’s modifications to the already intricate Bitcoin network, the topic only gets more complex.

    As a result, someone new to the world of cryptocurrency might appear disoriented and like a simple target for scammers. The people of Nigeria are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of frauds because of the country’s present economic circumstances. Desperate individuals are increasingly turning to promises of wealth and simple passive income when things become worse. To avoid falling for any old tricks, carefully study this list of Bitcoin scammers.

    Lastly, let’s not forget that cryptocurrencies are decentralized by nature. This implies that nobody can be contacted to fix something if it goes wrong. Since a transaction on the blockchain cannot be reversed, transmitting money in this area requires greater prudence than in any other.

    Seven Bitcoin Scams that Shook the Crypto Community

    1. The breach on Twitter

    When the well-known social media platform Twitter was compromised on July 15, 2020, it became one of the most well-known Bitcoin frauds ever. The accounts of well-known individuals with the recognizable “blue checkmark of a verified account” were the targets of the attackers.

    They promised to double any Bitcoin transferred to the linked wallet address in statements they posted after seizing control. This was a much larger-scale fraud similar to the Bitcoin doubler. Sites like YouTube were the first to make this kind of fraud widespread. However, the Bitcoin doubler scam on Twitter elevated this type of fraud to a never-before-seen height. Millions were contacted in the process.

    Numerous celebrities, personalities, and public figures have thousands of followers who contribute money to the wallets in these messages. Since the case is so new, the exact amount is unknown, but it is believed that the attackers received a total of 180,000 dollars in Bitcoin transfers. While not the largest Bitcoin fraud in terms of money taken, it is among the most well-known.

    2. One Coin

    OneCoin was founded in 2014 with the intention of become the largest multi-level marketing (MLM) platform in the cryptocurrency space. The platform made money by endorsing content purportedly acquired via the use of other cryptocurrencies. Together with receiving One Coin in exchange, the participants were urged to sign up other individuals for a referrals scheme.

    The specifics of this Bitcoin fraud are rather detailed and have been repeated for many years and countries. Ultimately, some members of the One Coin team were taken into custody and faced charges. Four billion US dollars were amassed by the swindle, most of which is still unaccounted for.

    3. Bitconnect

    The business was one of the biggest financial cash grabs ever, following a common pattern of Bitcoin scams. It was hailed as a completely decentralized payment network and the new Bitcoin. It was released just in time for the massive cryptocurrency bubble of 2017, and many people were interested in the project as FOMO (fear of missing out) swept throughout the community.

    Bitconect was one of the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization during the peak of its popularity. A significant portion of this money was given irreversibly to the corporation in the form of Bitcoin. The coins had a total estimated worth of 2.6 billion US dollars, and daily trade volumes were consistently in the millions. The project’s founding founders vanished in 2018, leaving many with a useless asset.

    4. Inksnation

    A Ponzi scheme that uses cryptocurrency, Inksnation is a fraud that specifically targets the Nigerian market. It presents itself as the world’s first “charitable DAO.” The Nigeria Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) called the platform a hoax, yet it’s still up and running and accepting investments.

    Despite being exposed as a scam by national authorities in Nigeria and blockchain, a large number of Nigerians continue to participate in this program. The nation’s current economic circumstances, which have forced many people into financially perilous situations, are the cause. These days, bogus promises of prosperity and easy money provide consolation to these folks.

    5. Pincoin

    One of the worst financial frauds in recent memory, Pincoin stole a significant amount of money. Commencing in Vietnam, the effort garnered funding from 32,000 distinct accounts, amounting to 660 million US dollars in total.

    It began with the fundamentals of a Ponzi scam, promising 48% monthly returns to any investment. At first, the business paid on schedule. More individuals invested in the platform as a result, and everything appeared to be going smoothly for a time.

    However, consumers eventually lost track of their “gains” and even their original investments, leading to complaints being made. A stunning turn of events occurred when all traces of the Pincoin offices in Vietnam were removed throughout the night.

    Nobody has been prosecuted for this fraud as of yet. Not only has there been no responsibility for the case, but none of the invested money has been repaid.

    6. Nigerian Calabar Company

    Calabar-based Bitcoin investment fund promised to offer substantial returns to its clients. The percentages that were advertised were 2% per day, 14% per week, and 50% per month. The fund was able to get investments totaling millions of naira. When it abruptly ceased operations in 2018, the individuals behind it fled with all of the money that was still in their accounts. This particular Bitcoin trading fraud is quite widespread and has been imitated in other nations.

    7. MT. Gox

    The first canary in the coal mine was the now-famous Mt. Gox, which was possibly the original Bitcoin fraud. Its warning indications from the platform’s attack have not been heeded years after it was destroyed. Even now, years after it occurred, security lapses at some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges are regularly reported.

    Mt. Gox was once a Bitcoin exchange with a location in Japan. It became well-known very fast as one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to function. When the exchange was at its busiest, it handled 70% of all Bitcoin transactions worldwide.

    Approximately 800,000 Bitcoins were taken from the Mt. Gox system in 2014. The specifics of how this occurred remain unclear to this day. To the extent that its former CEO, Mark Karpeles, was imprisoned in Japan for 2.5 years for falsifying trade data in a Bitcoin trading scheme that had nothing to do with the heist.

    Only 200,000 Bitcoins have been retrieved as of 2020; the remaining 600,000, worth 5.2 billion US dollars, are still missing. The breach goes unpunished, and it is still among the largest cryptocurrency thefts to this day.

    This list of Bitcoin scams demonstrates the widespread prevalence of theft, fraud, Ponzi schemes, and other illegal activities in the cryptocurrency space. In the crypto economy, the only way to combat this scourge is by ongoing education.