Culture

Can you buy a car with an Amazon gift card? Nope, it's a scam

Unless you're buying items on Amazon itself, you're being duped, the US government warns.

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The FTC warns consumers about Amazon gift-card scams.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have an Amazon gift card burning a hole in your pocket, the US government has a warning for you.

The Federal Trade Commission has alerted consumers not to use their Amazon gift cards for anything outside of Amazon.com because scams related to the cards have become a problem.

Scammers "are asking people to pay for big online purchases -- like cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs and tractors -- with Amazon gift cards," the FTC wrote in a blog post late last week. Basically, the scammer will use the gift card and never deliver the promised product to you.

Amazon has pointed out that cheap vehicles listed online from people who are seemingly in a rush to sell is a common gift-card scam. Gift cards for Amazon can reach up to $2,000.

"This is a scam. Amazon.com does not sell cars, and Amazon.com gift cards should not be used to make payments to other businesses or individuals," the company says on its website.

The FTC also cited examples of scammers using Amazon gift cards to "pay for" electronics, taxes, bail money or cable bills.

Amazon has been plagued with fake reviews and counterfeit sellers and has ramped up its efforts to squash scams on its site. Amazon declined to comment on the FTC's warnings.