Keep Holiday Gift Cards Safe from Scammers
Jackie here. Did you receive any gift cards for the holidays this year? While we won’t tell you how to spend them, we do have a few tips for how NOT to spend them. Scammers are hoping you’ll fall victim to one of the many gift card scams that are making the rounds after the holiday season.
Great Deals if You Pay with a Gift Card
When it comes to gift cards, scams abound. The latest scam encourages its victims to buy hot ticket items from a low priced selection on an unknown website. In order to pay for your bargains you’re encouraged to purchase an Amazon card and then to use this card to pay for your purchase.
Don’t let these bargains fool you into providing Amazon gift card information to a site that isn’t Amazon. If you use your Amazon gift card for payment, you’ll lose the balance on your card to the thieves and you won’t receive any merchandise in return. The website is just a front for stealing gift cards. While this scam is currently looking for Amazon cards, it could easily be replicated to target any big name retailer.
To avoid this scam, use your gift cards only at the corresponding retailer (Amazon cards at Amazon, Walmart gift cards at Walmart, etc.). Don’t share your gift card numbers with anyone. Register your card at the retailer’s site if that is an option as soon as possible (linking your card to your account can help you catch fraud sooner).
Other Gift Card Scams to Avoid
Since gift cards are a hot commodity for scammers and since you likely have several from the holidays, here are some other tips to keep you safe from gift card scams:
Buy Gift Cards from Reputable Sites Only- Gift cards are best purchased from reputable sources. Don’t buy heavily discounted cards from websites (or people) you don’t know or trust. It is worth paying a bit more for a legitimate card. If you have cards you don’t want, here are some tips for selling them.
Don’t Buy Gift Cards from Auction Sites- Auction websites like eBay are a common source of gift card fraud. Don’t buy your gift cards from these sites.
Keep Your Receipt- When you buy gift cards save your receipts until the card is fully used. Some retailers will replace stolen cards if you have your receipt.
Use Your Cards Quickly- Use your gift cards as quickly as you can once you receive them. Holding on to them for long periods of time can lead to fees and forgotten cards (as well as giving scammers more time to drain your balance).
Did you receive any gift cards this year? These tips will help you avoid scams both when you purchase and redeem your holiday cards.