En español | There’s a clear hierarchy in how scammers want you to pay them. “Crooks prefer to get money in forms that aren’t traceable or erasable,” says Amy Nofziger, a fraud expert for AARP. “Knowing their preferences may make it easier to spot their schemes.” Here’s what you should know.
Credit/debit cards and checks
Scammers rarely accept these, as the transactions are all tracked, monitored and recorded by a large financial organization. Thieves want to avoid having companies like Mastercard, Citicorp or Bank of America coming after them.
Retailer gift cards
In contrast, these are among scammers’ most-preferred payment forms, as a gift card can be quickly redeemed to buy other gift cards; once that’s done, the money becomes untraceable. Scammers often sell the cards online at a discount to convert into cash.
As cryptocurrencies become more accessible (Bitcoin ATMs are now widespread, and buying small increments online has become easy), crooks have grown more interested. Victims are directed to an ATM and told to buy with cash. Once the Bitcoin payment is transferred to the crook, it can’t be traced.