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Vanilla Gift Card Scam: How To Spot And Avoid It

Just because Vanilla gift cards have become popular in recent years, scammers are now using them to target innocent victims. In this article, we will unveil the truth behind the vanilla gift card scam. We’ll also expose how the scammers operate, and other things you need to know to protect yourself.

vanilla gift card scam

First and foremost, I’d like to tell our new visitors what a vanilla gift card is. They are prepaid cards that can be loaded with a specific amount of money and used to make purchases in stores that accept vanilla gift cards as a payment method.
These cards are not linked to a bank account or credit card. This makes them a safer option for those who are concerned about identity theft or fraud. Vanilla gift cards are available for purchase at a variety of locations, including grocery stores, drugstores, and convenience stores nationwide.

Fake Websites And Online Stores

Now that we have a basic understanding of what a vanilla gift card is, let’s dive into the scam that has been targeting consumers. The first most common form of this scam is usually the vanilla gift card scam which involves fake websites or online stores. In this format, scammers will create a website that looks legitimate and offer products at a very cheap price. They will then request payment in the form of a vanilla gift card. When attempting to defraud people, they’ll claim it is the only accepted form of payment.
Once the victim has provided the code, the scammers will suddenly become unresponsive. This leaves the victim with no product and no way to recover their money or gift card.

To protect yourself from falling victim to this scam, it is important only to purchase products from reputable retailers. Patronize those who will not say vanilla gift cards are the only form of payment accepted. Avoid purchasing them from online marketplaces or individuals on social media. Additionally, never provide the code on the back of the card to anyone, as this is equivalent to giving them cash.

Fake Emails And Phone Calls

The second format they use to perform the vanilla gift card scam is through a phone call or email. In this format, victims get a call or email from someone claiming to be from a government agency or a well-known company. They can disguise themselves as someone calling from the IRS, Microsoft, or from national Utility companies. If The scammer wishes to use the utility bill format, he will inform the victim that they owe a huge amount of outstanding utility depts.
If they prefer the Private company format, they’ll use the identity of companies that produce very popular products like computers and smart gadgets.

After preparing their format, they’ll then contact the victim and say he or she owes the manufacturer in one way or the other. For example, when Using a big name like Microsoft, they’ll say they have
detected that the Windows copy on your computer is not legit, or that they have detected on their end that your computer has a virus and that the only way to resolve the issue is by purchasing a vanilla gift card and providing the code on the back of the card so they can automate the fixing from their end.

Most times, victims get confused after hearing this. But the scammers often use fear tactics to pressure the confused victim into purchasing the gift card and providing the code.

Do Not Be A Victim of the Vanilla Gift Card Scam

These threats are not verifiable and they only use them to try their luck. They may threaten legal action or claim that the victim’s computer will be shut down if they do not comply. Once the victim has provided the code, the scammers then quickly search for buyers who will buy from them. Usually, they will go to a gift card exchange platform like CardCash. The market for Gift cards has increasingly grown in the last few years. These scammers can also find new buyers on neighborhood classified Ad websites like Letgo and Pensylvania Classifieds.

They can decide to trade it for other gift cards like Lululemon Gift Card, Amazon gift card, or Shein Giftcards. This is usually referred to as “Card the card”.
After doing all this, the victim is left with no way to recover their money.

It is important to note that legitimate companies and government agencies will never ask for payment in the form of a vanilla gift card. This is a red flag that should immediately be noticed. If you receive a call or email requesting payment in this manner, do not provide any personal information. Also, do not purchase a gift card for them. Instead, hang up or delete the email and contact the company. Contact the company or agency that the scammers claim to represent and verify the legitimacy of the request.


In conclusion, while vanilla gift cards can be a convenient and versatile gift option, it is important to be aware of the strategies these scammers use to deceive innocent people. Remember, you should never provide the code on the back of the card to anyone and only purchase them from reputable retailers. By staying vigilant and informed, you can protect yourself from falling victim to the vanilla gift card scam.