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VIEWPOINT: New bill to raise awareness of gift card scams

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Recently, the Federal Trade Commission reported that Americans lost 178 million to fraud and scams last year. Here in Delaware, we’ve lost 22.3 million to fraud. Delaware ranks 4th out of all states for overall fraud reports. That’s why House Bill 317 is so important right now. It requires stores selling third-party gift cards to post a notice alerting customers to protect themselves from gift card scams and telling them how to report them.

Lucretia Young | PHOTO COURTESY OF AARP

AARP fully supports HB 317. The bill is aligned with AARP’s efforts to prevent fraud through its Fraud Watch Network. This piece of legislation gives businesses an opportunity to better serve their customers and build more customer satisfaction. HB 317 passed Delaware’s House on May 22.

Con artists also use gift cards as imposters. They call unsuspecting consumers with an urgent financial matter posing as a government agency, a utility company, a business, etc. You are told to purchase a gift card to make a payment and to share the numbers on the card or a picture of the card. They threaten additional fees, even jail time if you don’t comply. The scammer converts the card to cash and then disappears. Most of the time, it is impossible to recover the money.

Consumer awareness is the best protection we can offer to help Delawareans hold on to their savings. AARP fully supports this bill and understands its importance. HB 317 now moves to the Senate. If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

AARP Delaware State Director Lucretia Young

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