Avoiding Gift Card Scams

Many people receive and purchase gift cards every holiday season. Unfortunately, the number of scams involving gift cards is increasing and requires consumers to approach them cautiously. Gift cards are a popular holiday item, and scammers are taking advantage of this.

Retail Gift Card Scams

Although purchasing gift cards from a retail location may seem like the safest option, there are still potential issues. Some scammers will obtain the numbers and PIN codes from gift cards at brick and mortar stores. They will wait for consumers to purchase the cards and load them with money before using them for their own shopping sprees online. Experts have found that the best way to avoid this problem is to buy cards that do not have tampered security codes. It is easy to see if the PIN has become visible on the back of a gift card and not purchase it. It is even safer to buy the cards online from the retail stores.

Online Gift Card Scams

In addition to traditional retailers, the Internet offers a large variety of gift card sellers. During the holiday season, Craigslist and eBay are filled with gift card offers. In addition, companies that only focus on selling gift cards for a reduced price are also available. Plastic Jungle, Swapagift, Cardpool and Gift Card Rescue offer consumers the option to sell and buy these items.

Although some sellers are legitimate, there is a risk with purchasing gift cards online. They may not send anything or send used cards. They may also send fake cards or cards that have a lower value. It is important to only purchase gift cards from trusted sellers with a return policy.

A New Twist

Some people have noticed a new alert posted by legitimate companies that sell gift cards online. Companies like Plastic Jungle, Swapagift, Cardpool and Gift Card Rescue resell gift cards from other consumers, and a new scam has become popular. It also extends to online auction sites. The sellers provide real gift card information but spend the entire amount before mailing the card. The card arrives at its final destination with a value of $0.

Advice to Follow

The auction sites and bargain websites usually have gift cards at extremely reduced values. Some people have seen $25 gift cards sell for $5 and occasionally lower. However, the reduced cost comes with a serious risk of losing money and getting nothing in return. It is best to avoid the bargain dealers and buy from legitimate retail locations online.

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