TIP: Gift Card Scams

With the holiday’s coming up, it’s the season to protect yourself from the various scams you could become victim to. Recently, scam artists have discovered a way to steal money from these gift cards without even having them in hand. They usually walk into stores with unmonitored gift card sections, then either write or photograph the important information presented. Stealing information off of gift cards is similar to stealing credit cards, Most of these thefts go unnoticed because of their low dollar amount, usual ranging from $10-$100.

When buying gift cards, always be sure to thoroughly inspect the card. Make sure the packaging is not bent or torn off. Examine the front and back of the gift card to guarantee that none of the codes have been scratched off or tampered with.  These codes are usually covered by a grey scratch off material or sticker. Avoid purchasing gift cards at unmonitored locations such as grocery or drug stores.

If receiving gift cards, it is best to use them immediately to reduce the risk of gift card theft. Also, be sure to check the balance before a purchase to ensure the card has its appropriate value.  Do this by going on the gift cards website or calling the number usually located on the bottom of the card. Always be attentive to using and purchasing gift cards this holiday season, and report any concerns to the store before purchase.