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Police warn Oahu residents of new gift card scam

The Honolulu Police Department is alerting the public of a new gift card scam targeting Hawaii residents. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen gift card scams, they keep coming because smart, well meaning people keep falling for them.

Officers have been receiving reports of folks receiving a cashier’s check in the mail with instructions to cash the check, purchase gift cards with from various stores and then complete a survey on their shopping experience. So far, this sounds like a legitimate “silent shopper” program, right?

Victims were then instructed to take pictures of the gift cards, email them to the scammers and as a reward, to “keep” what was left on cashier’s check. As you can probably guess, the cashier’s checks are fake and by the time your bank lets you know, you’ve already purchased the gift cards, have sent the codes to the scammers and are out of pocket for the money that was spent to buy the cards.

The Takeaway

The HPD has seen increase in scams involving gift cards because they are difficult to track and people keep falling for them. This iteration is just the latest in a variety of scams involving gift cards. The Federal Trade Commission has a short yet informative write-up on gift card scams as well as a great video you can share with your staff and family.

If you or someone you know have received suspicious calls or mail related to gift cards, call CrimeStoppers at (808) 955-8300 or send a tip to

CrimeStoppers has a hotline and website and encourages citizens to volunteer vital information to help law enforcement agencies fight crime and keep our island safe. If your tip leads to an arrest or recovery of stolen property or illegal contraband they pay rewards up to $1,000. Whoever said stopping crime doesn’t pay?

Stay safe out there



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