Inside LADA

September 9, 2016: No Rewards in Gift Card Scam

Graphic for Fraud Alert

Gift cards are commonly used by consumers but also highly sought after by thieves who find a way to exploit vulnerabilities in the authorization process. 

In the gift card scam, brazen crooks will steal a stack of gift cards and get identifying information off the cards, including the scratch-off sticker that has a pin number. Another sticker is then placed over the PIN, giving the appearance that the card has not been manipulated.

The stolen gift cards are placed back on shelves and the thieves will repeatedly check until an unsuspecting customer has activated the card. The fraudsters use the card’s identifying information before the victim has a chance to use it and spends the balance.

TIPS:

  • Inspect the gift card for tampering. Torn packaging or a crooked scratch-off sticker will tip off consumers
  • Ask a retailer if they keep gift cards behind the cash register or if they can get one that isn’t on a shelf or end cap
  • Always save your receipt and contact the store if the gift card balance is stolen

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