5 simple tips to avoid gift card scams

by Anshul
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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;

    1. Inspect the physical gift cards carefully, especially around the bar codes. Do not purchase if you notice tampering of any kind.
    2. Purchase gift cards from reputable retailers. Stay away from third-party websites or individuals, as they are more likely to be fraudelent.
    3. Register your card (if available), and monitor balance and transactions regularly.
    4. Keep the receipt of your purchase, until the balance has been utilized, in case the card is later determined to be fraudulent.
    5. 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. 

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