Scammers are destroying lives, one gift card fraud at a time. Here’s who’s fighting back

Ian Sherr
1 min readNov 26, 2021

Earlier, we published a story looking at how gift card scams work, who the victims typically are and why retailers aren’t doing much about it.

You can read part 1 here.

Today, we look at the people trying to change all that.

I sought perspective from people including cybercrime experts and retail fraud investigators. I spoke with the people whose technology is being misused to commit these frauds. I spoke with Western Union, which used to be a hotbed of scam activity until it became, as one executive told me, “enlightened.”

I also spoke with one of the YouTube personalities who’ve attracted audiences in the millions of people to watch as they bait scammers onto the phone and then try to disrupt their operations.

This is part of a series of stories CNET is publishing based on what my colleagues and I learned as we dug into the world of gift card scams.

Please share this story with your family and friends.

Statistically, at least one of them has already been victimized. And another likely will be unless we learn to stop it.



Ian Sherr

Editor at Large @cnet, formerly at WSJ, Reuters, AFP. Now, doomscroller covering Apple, Microsoft, gaming, VR, internet troubles. Say hello.