Gift cards have become a very popular and easy way of gifting, and scammers and fraudsters are waiting out there to take advantage of retailers and consumers. I would like to share our experience of gift card fraud with you, so you can prevent this from happening to you. On two occasions last year, we had problems with the gift cards we received. We were at the store to redeem the card; the cashier told us that the balance on the card had already been used or the card was never activated.
Scammers go to stores, take down information of gift cards on the rack and place them back. They then monitor the cards, as soon as you activate the card; they drain out the card before it is actually used.
Here are a few tips for when you buy gift cards:
Buy cards from a reputable seller or the retailer. That way, if you have a problem you can take it back to customer service.
Always check your card physically and look for signs of tampering including scratched off PIN numbers or PIN number stickers showing signs of replacement.
When you buy a gift card save the receipt of the purchase until the card is redeemed. You could slip in the receipt into the gift card envelope when you gift the card. Doing so can help protect the recipient from gift card fraud.
Check your activation receipt. Be sure the activation number on the receipt is the same as the number on the gift card you purchased. Sometimes the person at the counter activating the card may commit the fraud.
Also, if you see an offer for a free gift card, either via Facebook, text or phone call, never disclose your personal information. These offers are nearly always scams.
Meryl Roberts is a Financial Administrator at White Oaks. She assists in client and small business bookkeeping, executes accounts payable and receivables for small businesses, generates client financial reports and provides related administrative support.