Protect Yourself From The Gift Card Scam


If you plan on buying a gift card for someone this holiday, watch out!  Thieves are looking to steal your money.

"It can happen," Monica Horton, the Better Business Bureau of Wichita Falls said.

She said holidays are the perfect time of year for scammers.

"I think we may see more victims of scams, just for the simple fact that people are distracted during the holidays," she said.

Gift cards are expected to be the most popular item for people to buy.  The BBB estimates 57-percent of people will buy them. 

"Be cautious and be aware that con artists can take the information off of the gift card before it's purchased when they have them on display," Horton said.

Some of the gift cards have a silver strip on the back of them, but if you think it's enough to protect you, think again.

Horton said, "There are devices these days where they can just scan it without even uncovering those numbers."

Many people often get the prepaid debit/credit cards, since they are in some type of packaging.  It does help, but if thieves are desperate, they will open them so they can get access to the card numbers.

"Make sure the packaging isn't tampered with and that information is protected when it's out there on the shelf," she said.

If the stores have gift cards behind the counter or locked up, get those.  Also, keep track of your money.

"The best way to protect yourself is to take a look at your statements and your credit card statements and your banking.  Take a look at it online because you don't want to wait for that monthly statement," Horton said.

She said the quicker you notice a fraudulent charge the better. 

Another tip is to know the terms and conditions on the gift card because sometimes there is an activation fee associated with it, which could put you at risk again.

She also said, if you get a gift card as a present, spend the money.  There is a chance it could get lost, or stolen and if that happens, there is no way of getting back that money.

Unfortunately, there is no way to protect yourself completely from this scam.  However, the BBB said you can make it as difficult as possible by staying on top of your purchases.

, Newschannel 6