Gift Cards Scam

Gift cards are so convenient but they should come with a warning label reading, "This merchandise may be harmful to your wallet!" Be careful when giving away a gift card. Scams! Unscrupulous people are finding a way to get to your money before you can give it away. Recently I gave a family member a gift card, which I purchased at it well known drug store and gave it as a present of course. You know how convenient gift cards are to insert in a thank you card or to give someone to go to a restaurant since you are making it more personal. Well, so I gave away a Visa gift card. When my relative went to use it, it gave him all sorts of problems including not being able to use it in his favorite restaurant to pay for his own meal. It was exasperating and confusing, defeating the whole purpose of the gift!

How does this scam work? Well they the steal the access code to your gift card. You purchase and activate the card but before you are able to use it, they have accessed and used it!

What can we do?

First of all, be wise. Check the display where the cards are located. They should not be available for people to touch and finger through unsupervised. They should be located behind the counter for direct supervision. If they are aren't, that should immediately raise a red flag. These cards are potential money and should be displayed as expensive jewelry because in value they are.

Don't buy them there and speak to the manager! Shop around until you find a store that has their gift cards properly secured and displayed. Until you find a place with the proper security in place, don't purchase a card. It might be better to give someone a money order than a gift card in my opinion.

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