Scammers and thieves like gift cards as much as you do. They are counting on you being distracted by the crowds, shopping lists and pretty decorations….while visions of sugar plum purchases dance in their heads.
American shoppers are expected to spend over $30 BILLION for gift cards this year. Some of those shoppers and recipients of those cards will be disappointed.
Keep these tips from the Better Business Bureau in mind and maybe avoid the Grinch this year.
* Avoid buying gift cards on an auction website, no matter how steep the discount. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
* Buy cards directly from the store issuing the card or the retailers secure website.
* Avoid buying cards hung on a rack in public areas of a store, they are a prime target of thieves. All they need is the pin number on the card and it’s worthless to you, but you won’t know that until you try to use it. Seek out cards stored behind a service desk if possible.
* Always examine both sides of any cards you plan to buy. Look for any signs of scratches or tampering.
* Ask the clerk to scan the card in front of you to assure that you are getting the amount you pay for.
* Always keep the receipt for the cards as long as the card has money stored on it. It’s at least some basic protection against theft.
* NEVER EVER give out social security numbers, date of birth, bank account numbers or other private info for a card purchase. Reputable companies do not ask for this information for a gift card purchase!