With the holiday season right around the corner, we thought it might be helpful to post some tips for avoiding common gift card scams. If you have any other tips, drop us a line!
Buying Gift Cards Off Store Racks
The Scam - Last year a common gift card scam was uncovered that involved folks writing down the pin/serial numbers on the back of gift cards hanging on racks at stores. They would then wait a few days and call on the balance of those cards. If any had a balance, they would know it had been activated, and they could then use the number to make a purchase through the web.
How To Protect Yourself
1. As a general rule of thumb, check the back of the gift card you are about to buy to make sure the pin number is not visible. Nowadays, most have a scratch-off pin on the back. If yours has been scratched, put it back and grab a new one.
2. Ask the cashier for a gift card from their register---but still be sure to inspect it for any tampering. Employees can tamper with gift cards as well.
3. Be wary of purchasing gift cards online. Your safest bet is to buy the gift card directly from the merchant.
Always remember to keep your receipt for a gift card. That receipt may come in handy if there is a problem with someone else using your gift card number or if you lose your gift card. Most merchants will re-issue a lost or stolen gift card if you present a valid receipt.