With gift card sales estimates at $24.81 billion this holiday season according to the National Retail Foundation, it is not surprising that scammers are targeting the gift card market. Here’s an example of a gift card scam that crooks have found to rob you of your gift card balance:
Crooks jot down the gift card numbers in the store. This is easy for them since gift cards are often on public display at many stores. Then, they wait a few days and call to see if the gift card has been purchased and loaded with funds. Once they find the card is “activated,” they go online and start shopping with your card.
To avoid this scam, don’t buy gift cards off of publicly displayed racks in retail stores. You may want to purchase your card from a salesclerk, where gift cards are not in plain view to the public.
This precaution should help but don’t assume that because gift cards are inaccessible to the public, they are 100% safe. Store employees might participate in this gift card scam too.
To be completely safe, you may want to stick to good old cash. There are also some banks that offer bank-issued gift cards to their customers which usually have added security benefits over store-bought cards.
We hope you are finding our consumer alerts useful. And, as always, if you know someone who is struggling with overdue debts, please have them call us for a bankruptcy consultation at 212-315-3755.