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Beware of Gift Card Frauds: 5 Common Gift Card Scams Targeting Shoppers This Holiday

As the holiday season approaches, gift cards become popular for convenient and versatile presents.  However, amidst the festive cheer, scammers are finding crafty ways to exploit this generosity, risking your money and personal information. 

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), there has been a 50% increase in reported gift card fraud compared to the previous year. 

Guarding Your Gift Card

To ensure a scam-free season, it’s crucial to be aware of these five common gift card scams and learn how to avoid falling victim to them.

  1. Display Rack Gift Card Trick

The latest gift card trick involves tampering with cards on display racks at retail stores. Scammers record the activation code or place a custom barcode sticker over the real one. 

This allows them to load cash onto their card immediately after your purchase, leaving your gift card empty or invalid.

How to avoid:

  • Check for signs of tampering.
  • Choose cards from the back of the rack.
  • Inspect the packaging for any irregularities.
  1. Impersonation Gift Card Trick

Scammers impersonate someone you trust, creating a fake story or emergency that requires you to send them money urgently. 

They may ask you to buy gift cards and share the card numbers, disappearing with your money.

How to avoid: 

Never send money or gift cards to unfamiliar contacts; 

verify identities through a different channel.

  1. Resale Gift Card Trick

Offering discounted gift cards for sale online, scammers send fake or empty 

cards or steal your card information and money without delivering anything in return.

How to avoid: 

Only buy/sell from reputable sources, avoid strangers online, and use secure payment methods.

  1. Phishing Gift Card Trick

Involving phishing emails or messages, scammers impersonate legitimate entities, urging you to click on links or provide personal information, often asking for payment in gift cards.

How to avoid: 

Never click on unsolicited links, don’t share personal details, and use antivirus protection.

  1. Loyalty Program Gift Card Trick

Scammers pretend to represent loyalty programs, claiming you’ve won a prize that requires a fee paid with a gift card.

How to avoid:

  • Be cautious of unsolicited offers.
  • Don’t pay fees for prizes.
  • Contact the loyalty program directly.

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Transactions During the Holiday

As the holiday season approaches, gift cards become popular for convenient and versatile presents.

Tips for Safe Gift Card Transactions:

  1. Buy gift cards online from official retailers.
  2. Inspect physical gift cards for tampering before purchase.
  3. Register gift cards directly with the retailer.
  4. Avoid engaging in gift card transactions with callers making unusual claims.
  5. Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites.
  6. Never provide personal financial information to those offering gift cards.
  7. Use adequate antivirus protection to prevent malware and phishing attempts.

By staying vigilant and following these precautions, you can enjoy the holiday season without falling prey to gift card scams.

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