Ciresi introduces legislation to prevent gift card scams

HARRISBURG, April 4 – As an advocate for customer protections in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery), announced today he has introduced legislation (H.B. 2186) that would help people avoid falling victim to gift card scams.

According to Ciresi, gift cards have become an increasingly widespread way for scammers to defraud Pennsylvanians. Gift cards are easy to purchase, almost impossible to track and allow fraudsters to quickly move money on them, making them a popular payment method demanded by scammers. Sometimes fraudsters claim to be associated with government agencies, legitimate businesses, or even victims’ families, creating a sense of urgency to get their victims to buy gift cards as payment. Reports of gift card fraud to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker increased by 50% in 2023.

“Last year, the Federal Trade Commission reported that victims lost $217 million due to gift card fraud last year,” Ciresi said. “In response to constituents telling me heartbreaking stories of being defrauded of thousands of dollars as a result of these scams, I’ve introduced my bill to help protect Pennsylvania’s consumers from gift card fraud.”
Ciresi’s legislation would require retailers selling gift cards to post clear signage warning consumers about gift card scams where gift cards are displayed and at the point of sale. Retailers would also be required to train their employees on how to identify and respond to suspected victims of gift card-related scams. The PA Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection would be directed to produce model signage and training to help retailers with the implementation of these requirements.
“As scammers get increasingly sophisticated in their methods, we need to do all we can to educate the public and make sure they have the information they need to not become the next victim of fraud,” Ciresi said. “My bill would help ensure that Pennsylvania’s residents and retailers are on guard against gift card fraud and are alert whenever anyone asks for payment with gift cards.”