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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Gift cards are popular around the holidays, but they’re also an easy way for criminals to steal money.

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The government is warning consumers that more con artists are now demanding this type of payment.

Credit: CBS3

The Federal Trade Commission says scammers are more and more often asking for iTunes, Google Play or Amazon gift cards.

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In just the first nine months of this year, consumers lost $53 million in scams where gift card payments were involved.