The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is providing tips to those help prevent those who purchase gift cards to be safe from scammers.
Gift cards are very popular during the holidays, which has caused scammers to create multiple tactics in order to steal money off of them.
Tips from the BBB:
- Examine the gift card
Be sure to give the card a thorough look to make sure the PIN number isn't exposed or the packaging hasn't been tampered with. Grab a new card if something looks suspicious.
- Do your research
Double check the terms and conditions, the expiration date or any fees tied to the gift card before purchasing it. Some stores may charge service or setup fees, or limit the gift card to in store only, meaning you can’t use it online.
- Register your gift card
Take full advantage of registering the gift card if the retailer allows you the option. This will make it easier to keep track of any misuse so that you can report it sooner and potentially save money that is stored.
- Treat it like cash
If your gift card ends up being lost or stolen, report it to the issuer right away. You may be able to recover the lost funds.
- Use caution when buying from a third party
Purchasing from a third party can run the risk of getting a card that has no value, is expired, or was fraudulently obtained.
- Don't pay bills or other obligations using a gift card
If you ever receive a call demanding you must pay using a gift card, hang up. According to the BBB, this is a scare tactic. No reputable company would ask for a gift card payment.
- Consider the financial condition of the retailer
Beware of purchasing from retailers that file for bankruptcy or are going out of business.
- Keep your information private
Never give out your personal information.
- Use caution when selling online
Be careful if you place your gift card online. If someone asks to listen to your balance inquiry, or wants to look over your shoulder while you enter the numbers, it is most likely a scam.
Source: ABC-13 WSET