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Be Sure To Avoid These 3 Common Gift Card Scams

The National Retail Federation found that gift cards were one of the most requested gifts during the 2017 holiday season. Moreover, gift card spend for the season was estimated to reach $27.6 billion. But how many of those cards were victim to fraudulent activity? Here’s how to protect yourself from some of the most common gift card scams.  

1. In-Store Hacking
A hacker can easily steal money from the gift card rack. How? They quickly obtain the gift card number as well as the security code. If you’re wondering how they access the security code, they scammer is already one step ahead of you. They utilize replacement to cover the scratched off security code, making it appear as if the card has been untouched. 

With special software, the hacker can will be notified once a gift card has been activated and can be used to make a purchase.

2. Spammers Posing As The IRS, Government Agency or Companies
Either you, a family member or friend has more than likely received a phone call from scammers pretending to be from the IRS. The fake callers claim that you owe money surrounding incorrect tax refunds. 

According to the IRS, people have lost millions of dollars in addition to their personal information being compromised. Note that these scammers can often ask for payment via gift cards. It’s imperative to contact the company directly if the claim sounds suspicious. 

Note that the IRS does not initially contact people via social media, email or text messages. If you’ve been contacted and are concerned of the legitimacy, review this helpful tax scam article from the IRS. 

3. Gift Card Balance Bots
Software allows for scammers to target gift card balance websites using compromised data and bots. Gift card numbers as well as pins are tried in an attempt to access gift card accounts online. Once a gift card with funds has been verified, the scammer will then sell the gift card account information.

How To Protect Yourself

  • Always check the gift card packaging for any damage.
  • Keep the receipt from when you purchase the gift card. 
  • If you think you’ve received a fraudulent phone call, immediately hang up the phone. 
  • Avoid in-store racks that easily expose the gift card’s numbers and PIN. Look for stores that hold gift cards from behind the counter.

 

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