Gift Card/Impersonation Scams

May 27th, 2020

Recently, we have noticed a large number of gift card scams coming through email services that have been targeting the ASU community. The ASU Information Security Office reminds everyone to be vigilant about the threat landscape that is present on the internet. Below are the details of the scam and actual examples of the gift card scams.

How does the Scam Work:

  1. The scam sent will usually include “Are you available” as the body or subject of the email. 

  2. This scam uses social engineering, usually posing as an authority figure to trick users into purchasing different kinds of gift cards with the promise that you will be reimbursed. 

  3. The scammer will imply that they are in a meeting or otherwise occupied and unable to do that themselves and needs your “help” as soon as possible. 

  4. The scammer will then ask you to send the gift card details by email.

Things to look for:

  • Look at the “from” address and check the actual address is “”. Official ASU business should be conducted using ASU email.

  • Typically, the scammer will impersonate someone in authority, such as a direct supervisor or college Dean. If you know the person who is being impersonated reach out to them using a separate means of communication for confirmation - do not respond to the suspicious email.

  • ASU Personnel should not ask you to purchase Gift cards in any situation. 

  • If you receive any suspicious emails and are unsure send them to the ASU Information Security Office at to be verified. 

***Example Scam Emails***

From: [Impersonated ASU Person] <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 2:04 PM
To: [Your email address]
Subject: Follow Up 

Are You Available?


From: [Impersonated ASU Person] <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 2:04 PM
To: [Your email address]
Subject: Follow Up


What I need is Amazon Gift Cards of $200 face value at the nearest groceries store around you. I need 200 of Each card that is $200 X 7 = $1,400. How soon can you get this done? If you get the physical card, then you scratch the silver panel at the back of the card for the claim code and email me picture of the cards with the purchase receipt.

***End scam Email***