Gift card fraud is one of the top holiday frauds around. Perhaps you’ve experienced first-hand that sinking feeling of disappointment and despair when the shop assistant informs you the gift card from your grandmother is invalid, because it is fraudulent. Happy Holidays to you, right?
Here is a quick summary of the gift card scams out there:
1. Get a text stating you won a $1000 gift card from a highly reputable brand like Amazon? Go ahead and try to redeem it, and you’ll soon find yourself faced with a series of questions, all of them from hackers who are after your personal information. Remember never to provide your personal or sensitive information to anyone.
2. Counterfeit gift cards are being sold online, typically through auction websites. Don’t fall for them – a $50 gift card should cost $50, not $25!
3. Thieves are writing down or scanning gift card numbers while they are still on the rack and in the store. These crooks monitor the cards through the toll-free number on the back. Once they discover the cards have been activated they use the gift card numbers and shop online to their hearts content.
These all sound like fairly unavoidable issues if you’re planning on purchasing a gift card. However, there are few simple things you can do to outsmart the thieves.
Tips to avoid gift card fraud:
- Never buy a gift card from a public rack. Go to a shop that stores their cards behind the counter.
- Always inspect the packaging of a gift card to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with.
- Don’t buy gift cards online or via auction websites, unless you can purchase directly from a secure retailer’s website.
- Always keep your receipt. Most retailers will replace the card as long as you are able to provide proof of purchase from their shop.
And don’t forget the golden rule, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is… a scam.
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