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Gift card scams have been on the rise in recent years, with scammers using a variety of tactics to separate unsuspecting individuals from their hard-earned money. They are a popular choice for gifts because they allow end user to purchase what they desire within the brand/s of the gift card. However, this convenience also makes them a prime target for scammers.
One common scam involves placing a barcode sticker on top of the real barcode on a gift card, and placing it back on the shelves of the store. This allows the scammer to access the funds on the card before the victim even has a chance to use it. If you dabble in gift cards, also be aware of ‘phishing scams’ – where the scammer will send a fake email or text message with instructons to “activate” the gift card or to “claim” a prize. However, the link actually leads to a fake website that is designed to steal the personal information, such as name, address, and credit card details. And perhaps more prevelant in the points community, is the “sellers” scam – the scammer will claim to be a legitimate seller of gift cards, often offering cards at a discounted price. However, when the victim pays for the card and receives it, they will find that it is not valid or has a much lower value than the scammer claimed.
Here are some tips to help you evade these scammers;
- Inspect the physical gift cards carefully, especially around the bar codes. Do not purchase if you notice tampering of any kind.
- Purchase gift cards from reputable retailers. Stay away from third-party websites or individuals, as they are more likely to be fraudelent.
- Register your card (if available), and monitor balance and transactions regularly.
- Keep the receipt of your purchase, until the balance has been utilized, in case the card is later determined to be fraudulent.
- Do not take pictures of, or post pictures of your gift cards online. It happens more than you think.
Do you have helpful tips to evade gift card scams? Share with a comment below.