Giving Gift Cards for the Holidays? Buyer Beware! Protect Yourself with These Tips
- Only purchase gift cards that are sold from behind a counter by a salesperson, not on display racks. Have the store cashier scan the gift card in front of you. This will guarantee that your card is valid when you buy it and that it reflects the balance you just charged it with.
- Scammers know that gift cards are a common present during the holidays and are prepared to scam you right after the holidays. This year opt for cash, a check, or another gift instead of gift cards.
- Do not buy gift cards that are being sold on auction websites. Since this is a large source of gift card fraud, these cheap gift cards may well be worthless to you. There’s a good chance they are stolen, counterfeit, or used.
- Buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer’s website. If you do buy a gift card online, make sure you buy it from the place where you plan to use it.
- When purchasing gift cards, carefully examine both the front and back of a gift card before you buy it. If you can see a PIN number, put the card back and get a different one. If a gift card looks like it could have been tampered with, don’t buy that gift card.
- Your receipt is your proof of purchase as long as there is money stored on the gift card. Since many retailers can track where the gift card was purchased, activated and used, if the card is stolen, some retailers will replace the card for you if you have your receipt.
- If a retailer offers registration of your gift card on their website, use this benefit straight away. Although not all stores offer this option, you can uncover any misuse of your gift card sooner and report it more quickly.