We’ve all received one. They’re scams that go around on the Internet trying to trick you into sending money, your passwords, or any other valuable info. Turn on the news and you’re bound to hear a headline of a new scam being 6 Smart Ways to Prevent Gift Card Fraudpulled off by thieves and hackers. One day they’re posing as the IRS trying to obtain your confidential information and the next day, you discover a credit card breach at your favourite store. Long gone are the days your only concern was a pickpocket. Now you need to be watching your gift cards, too, because gift card fraud is a thing.
That’s right. Crooks are sniffing out your gift card balance to they can steal it right out from under you. One day you’ve got a substantial balance and the next time you go to use it, it’s at a zero. Huh?
How does it happen? Thieves target gift card display racks, grab a stack of gift cards, snap a photo of the back of the card or jot down the card numbers in the store and wait for the cards to be activated. They then call to find the available balance and go online shopping. It’s not only frustrating, it’s the height of violation.
How can you protect yourself against gift card fraud? Follow these expert tips and stay safe.

6 Ways You Can Prevent Gift Card Fraud

1. GET PERSONAL

Only purchase gift cards that are sold from behind a counter by a salesperson, not on display racks. Have the store cashier scan the gift card in front of you. This will guarantee that your card is valid when you buy it and that it reflects the balance you just charged it with.

2. GO FOR CASH

Scammers know that gift cards are a common present during the holidays and are prepared to scam you right after the holidays. This year opt for cash, a check or another gift instead of gift cards.

3. BUY DIRECT

Do not buy gift cards that are being sold on auction websites. Since this is a large source of gift card fraud, these cheap gift cards may well be worthless to you. There’s a good chance they are stolen, counterfeit or used.

4. GO TO THE STORE

Buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer’s website. If you do buy a gift card online, make sure you buy it from the place where you plan to use it.

5. CHECK IT OVER

When purchasing gift cards, carefully examine both the front and back of a gift card before you buy it. If you can see a PIN number, put the card back and get a different one. If a gift card looks like it could have been tampered with, don’t buy that gift card.

6. KEEP YOUR PROOF

Your receipt is your proof of purchase as long as there is money stored on the gift card. Since many retailers can track where the gift card was purchased, activated and used, if the card is stolen, some retailers will replace the card for you if you have your receipt.

7. REGISTER IT

If a retailer offers registration of your gift card on their website, use this benefit straight away. Although not all stores offer this option, you can uncover any misuse of your gift card sooner and report it more quickly.

Justin Lavelle is Communications Director at BeenVerified.com, an easy way to access to public records and search for people. Find out ages, marital status, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, criminal records, and more.

 

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