Did You Buy Gift Cards for the Holidays? Beware of ‘Card Draining’ Scam, Experts Warn!
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Don’t fall victim to a gift card draining scam this holiday! Here’s what to know.
Beware of gift card scams this holiday season.
Gift cards are one of the most popular holiday gifts and stocking stuffers, but if you’re planning on gifting a few this year, be alert.
Gift card scams happen at all national retailers, usually from displays set out to show the gift cards. You may most recently, however, have heard Target in the news related to these scams.
In California, investigators discovered that bar codes were being removed from Target gift cards and then replaced with fraudulent bar codes. The scammers then would seal the gift cards back up, and return them to the rack. In other situations at other retailers, scammers may also use a magnetic stripe reader to steal the barcode.
When honest paying customers buy the tampered gift card, the cashier unknowingly loads the funds to the fake bar code. The scammers then jump in and use the balance – they even use computer programs to alert them that they’ve been activated. As a result, your giftee’s gift card balance could end up with a zero value when they go to use it. 😞
Are you buying gift cards this holiday? Here’s our advice…
No matter where you are shopping this holiday season, it is best to be alert when purchasing gift cards.
To avoid fake activation websites, consider activating your card by phone.
If you notice the package of your gift card appears to be ripped or tampered with in any way, notify a store employee or manager of the gift card issue and get a new one, or opt to send an eGift card instead.
Don’t want to take the risk of buying a gift card? Try these other gift ideas instead.