Safeguarding Our Customers

Stay Alert – Beware of Gift Card Scams

Watch Out For Charity Scams While gift cards are a welcome present to receive, they're also a common way for criminals to steal from their victims. Watch out for these varieties of gift card scams.

Stolen Gift Card Number
The scammer removes a gift card from a store display, scans and records the card number with a magstripe reader, puts the gift card back, and leaves the store. After money is loaded onto the card, the scammer quickly uses it to make purchases. It's best to purchase gift cards from the rear of a display, since they're less likely to have been fraudulently handled.

Fake Gift Card Activation Website
Usually, a gift card must be activated before it can be used. The activation website address and all necessary information are typically listed on the back of the card or a sticker across the front. Some scammers create fake websites with almost the same web addresses to gain access to the gift card number, expiration date, and card verification code (CVC) that recipients provide. Make sure you're on the real website and not a fraudulent one before you provide data.

A Dishonest Cashier
Sometimes the cashier at a store is also a scammer. Here's how that works: You buy a gift card, and the cashier activates it, but instead of returning the activated card to you, the cashier replaces it with one that hasn't been activated. This allows the cashier to make purchases with the activated card or sell it. Keep a close eye on the cashier whenever you buy a gift card!

Fake Online Auction 
You may be tempted to buy gift cards from online auction sites, thinking you'll get a good deal by paying less than the card's face value. Don't do it! Scammers steal gift cards that haven't been activated and sell them at these sites, meaning that "bargain" gift card may end up being worthless. Others inflate the value of the gift cards they sell, and you'll discover the $100 gift card you bought is only worth $25.

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