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AZ Attorney General, CVS launch awareness program to combat gift card fraud

PHOENIX (KVOA) – On Friday, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and CVS Pharmacy announced they are launching a new consumer fraud awareness program today to combat gift card scams in Arizona, especially during the holiday season.

The Arizona Attorney Generals Office said in a news release that every year, consumers lose millions of dollars in scams involving gift cards and/or reloadable cards.

All CVS Pharmacy stores in Arizona will soon display STOP signs at gift card displays to prompt customers to stop and think about why they’re buying the gift card, and remind them that gift cards can never be used to pay a government agency.

AG Stop sign image

The Arizona Attorney Generals Office said there are many different variations of gift card scams, but one of the most common involves government imposters. Oftentimes, fraudsters call and claim to be from a government agency and ask you to pay off your debt/balance with gift cards. If the debt is not paid immediately, the scammer threatens to arrest you or drop your government benefits or services.

Since January 1, 2019, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has received approximately 220 consumer complaints related to gift card scams. 

Attorney General Mark Brnovich and CVS Health Executive Vice President, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer and General Counsel Tom Moriarty kicked off the program Friday at a CVS Pharmacy store in Phoenix.
 
“Too many have fallen victim to gift card scams,” Brnovich said. “We believe the best way to prevent this type of fraud is to educate consumers before they succumb to highly stressful and aggressive tactics. I appreciate CVS working with our office on this new program to remind Arizonans that the government will never accept gift cards as a form of payment.”
 
“Gift card and prepaid card scams are a challenge to retailers and customers across the country – especially during the holiday season when gift card sales peak and the popularity of gift cards continues to increase during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” Moriarty, said. “We support Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s efforts to warn customers about these scams, and we continue to be proactive through our own employee training, customer education and fraud prevention partnerships.”

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. You may also contact the AGO at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the metro areas at (800) 352-8431. Bilingual consumer protection staff is available to assist. 

Alexis Berdine

Alexis Berdine is an Investigative Multi-Media Journalist at KVOA.

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