ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new state law aiming to protect consumers from gift card scams will go into effect this summer. New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriquez was at the Price Chopper supermarket in Clifton Park to announce that by June 20, all state businesses selling gift cards must have clear signage warning shoppers about scam risks.
“Having it right here when you’re making a decision or at the register provides another layer for us to address the misuse of gift cards,” Sec. Rodriguez said.
The most recent figures from the New York Department of State report that, last year, over 65,000 consumers made gift card scam complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, adding up to $228 million in losses.
So what is the state doing to catch these scammers? Rodriquez said reporting scams are key in helping the state find fraudsters using their Division of Consumer Protection.
“Oftentimes, we look to find patterns and repetitiveness on that to connect that with our friends in law enforcement,” he said.
The Department of State is warning consumers that a legitimate business or debt collector would never ask for a gift card as a method of payment. Gift card scams come in many forms but typically target the elderly and immigrants. Beware of calls stating you or someone you know is in trouble and needs money.
“It’s important for us to recognize that there are people who are taking advantage of a very good product and using it in ways that you shouldn’t and wasn’t intended to,” Sec. Rodriguez said.
So what can you do if you’ve been scammed? Call the state helpline at 800-697-1220.