Here are some great tips on how to avoid Gift Card Fraud.
"Gift card fraud is a growing concern among retailers nationwide," said Joseph LaRocca, vice president of loss prevention for the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group.
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Here are some great tips from SCAMBUSTERS.ORG
8 Tips for Protecting Yourself From Any Gift Card Scam:
There are plenty of things that you can do to protect yourself from gift card scams. And the best part is that none of these things will take more than a few minutes.
Just follow these eight simple tips to make shopping for gift cards safer:
Don't buy gift cards from online auction sites. Since this is a large source of gift card fraud, these cheap gift cards may well be worthless to you. Sure, some of these cards are real, but many are stolen, counterfeit or used. It's not worth the risk.
Only buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer's website -- no matter how much cheaper they may be somewhere else. If you do buy a gift card online, make sure you buy it from the place that you plan to use it.
Don't buy gift cards off of publicly displayed racks in retail stores. In addition, don't assume that because gift cards are inaccessible to the public, they are safe. After all, store employees can participate in gift card scams too.
Always 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.
Always ask the store cashier to 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. This will also protect you from crooks who exchange worthless cards for the cards you think you are buying.
Always keep your receipt as a 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 possible, register your gift card at the store's website. Although not all stores offer this option, you can uncover any misuse of your gift card sooner and report it more quickly.
Finally, never, ever give your Social Security number, date of birth or any other unneeded private information when you purchase a gift card. No reputable company will ask for this info.
Gift cards are convenient and make great gifts. Following these easy tips will help you ensure the person you buy the gift card for is the one who benefits from it!