Gift Card Purchase Safety Tips
Posted on December 4, 2023
A trending scheme referred to as “Display Rack Gift Card Scams” is something you need to protect yourself from all year round, but especially as we head into the holiday season.
Take a few moments to examine the packaging and gift card. Look for signs of tampering, such as the wrapping being torn or resealed. Also, look for stickers placed over the barcode or card number. Scammers will place a custom barcode sticker over the real barcode of the gift card, which allows them to secretly load the cash onto their own card immediately after you purchase the compromised gift card.
- Choose a card from the back of the rack: Scammers often place their fraudulent cards at the front of the display, so choosing a card from the back can reduce the risk of purchasing a tampered card.
- Purchase gift cards that are in view of the cashier: Gift cards that are in view of the cashier can be a safer option because they are less likely to be tampered with. Additionally, if the gift card is kept behind the counter or in a locked display case, it can provide an extra layer of protection against tampering.
- Avoid unfamiliar brands: If you’re not familiar with the brand on the gift card, do some research before purchasing. Some scammers create fake gift cards for non-existent or defunct brands, so it’s important to be cautious.
- Report suspicious activity: If you suspect that a gift card is fraudulent or has been tampered with, you should report it to a store associate right away and request a refund or exchange. Plus, it should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as well as asking the company that issued the gift card to have it re-issued.
The FTC also provides a list of contacts for some of the major retailers that offer gift cards and outlines what a consumer should do when they encounter a gift card scam.