Let’s discuss the 5 types of Google Play gift card scams and how to avoid them. Before we go right into that, let me share my personal experience with a Google Play gift card scam.
I was surfing one day and came across an advertisement for a new popular game that was just introduced to Google Play. I was so thrilled to download it so, I click on the link. Then, I was instructed to enter my mobile number so that I can get a verification code.
After doing that, I got a call from someone that claim to be an official from Google Play. I was informed that there is a technical issue with my account that needs to be resolved.
They asked me to buy a Google Play gift card to verify my account so that the issue can be fixed. They recommended some platforms I can buy it from and should give an update once I’m done.
I started feeling somehow but I proceeded anyway. I did accordingly and provided the card details. They informed me that the issue had been resolved. I proceeded to download the game and realized it wasn’t working.
I called the official rep back but got no response. That was when I realized I had fallen victim to a Google Play scam.
I learned my lesson and since then have been skeptical about suspicious links or calls. Keep reading and learn how you can identify and avoid Google Play scams.
Types Of Google Play Gift Card Scams
Let’s address the different types of Google Play gift card scams to easily identify them in case you come across them.
1. Fake Government Agencies
This is the most common Google Play gift card scam. Scammers contact you via a phone call disguised as a government official from FIR, a state tax agent, a police officer, or other govt agencies.
They generally claim that you have some debt that you need to settle either in taxes or fines. Then instruct you to purchase a Google Play gift card and use it as a payment method.
They threaten that failure to do that will result in confiscating your license or getting detained. Most victims give in to these threats and end up buying gift cards. They do request some private details too.
2. Tech Support
Fraudsters do make calls and make a claim that they are part of the tech support team at a famous company. They ask victims to use Google Play gift cards to make payments for technical issues they want to resolve.
Another way they do reach out is via email. A link is included in such emails with instructions to click on it and make payment with a Google Play gift card. They claim to help protect your accounts.
There are strange calls you may get with claims of being a bank representative. Don’t be deceived, you can have an Access bank account and get a call from someone that claims to be from Access bank.
Mostly, they do say that your bank account or credit card has been deactivated and they need to activate it. They may request payment with a Google play gift card by asking for the gift card code.
4. Family Emergency
You may get calls from people that claim to be your family member. This happened to one of my friends years back. The caller claimed to be his Uncle abroad and needed to sort out an emergency immediately.
They will try to brainwash you into thinking it’s one of those Uncles in the diaspora. Another way this scam works is a call from people who claim to be the lawyer or representative of a family member.
They claim that the family members need help urgently and you don’t need to contact them. Payment can be requested in form of a Google play gift card.
You can confirm such a request by calling the family member or totally ignore the request.
5. Phishing Scam
This commonly happens in form of an email. The email will be manipulated in such a way that you think it came from a reputable company, family, friend, or colleague.
The email will contain a request to purchase a Google play gift card and reply with the card codes. Make sure not to reply to the email or click on any link included.
How To Avoid Google Play Gift Card Scams
As much as these scams are rampant out there, there are ways you can prevent yourself from being a victim. Check the recommended tips below:
1. Conduct necessary research
Whenever a so-called government representative or bank official reaches out to you, ensure to conduct research. Get to know if such govt agency even exists in the first place. If yes, contact them to confirm the authenticity of the message, mail, or call. Meanwhile, it’s very rare a real govt agency will request payment for a Google Play gift card.
2. Take your time before proceeding to pay
Any payment request with an urgent deadline calls for suspicion. Don’t fall into the trap. Such scammers ensure to create a sense of urgency and make you without asking questions or knowing exactly what you are paying for.
3. Keep your gift card receipts safe
This comes in handy in case you misplaced your Google Play gift card or it got stolen.
4. Stick to Google Play Store to redeem your card
Only redeem your Google Play gift card when you are ready to use it. Also, encourage your gift recipients to do the same.
5. Sell Google play gift cards only on reputable trading platforms
Avoid selling your Google Play gift cards on unverified platforms. Sell your Google Play gift card for cash on the Nosh platform. This helps you avoid being a potential Google Play gift card scam victim.
How To Report Google Play Gift Card Scams
There is a contact form created by Google to report Google Play gift card scams. You will need to enter your full name, email address, gift card’s serial number, country, and date the gift card was purchased. Another way is to report via your Google account.
Kindly note that it is against Google Play’s terms and conditions to use a Google gift card to pay for any item or service asides for Google Play Store.
Any call or email requesting to make payment with a Google Play gift card without a concrete explanation is definitely a scam. Don’t get coerced by threats with deadlines and rush to make payment.
When trying to exchange your Google Play gift card in Nigeria, use a good gift card trading platform with the necessary features.
Stay vigilant always!