What is the Safest Way to Purchase a Gift Card?

There are an unfortunate number of victims of gift card scams every year. Gift cards are a fantastic way to give gifts during the holidays, for birthdays, and other special occasions. The majority of Americans buy a gift card every holiday season, making them prime targets for scammers to steal money from unsuspecting citizens. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to protect your gift card purchases and ensure that no scammer has tampered with them. Taking the right steps, there is almost no chance to purchase a gift card that’s been tampered with. This article will give you all you need to know about the safest ways to purchase gift cards. 

If you have the time, we recommend adding some fun packaging or little gifts to the gift card. A little personalization goes a long way!

How do Scammers Tamper with Gift Cards?

Buying gifts is an exciting time, but it can be hard to find the budget to get everything. Gift cards are very popular because they simplify the gift-giving process. For one, you can monitor spending exactly rather than juggle the various costs of possible gifts for friends and family. Gift cards are also spectacular because it is easier to find a gift you know the recipient will like. 

When they don’t give a list of possible gifts, it is easy to go for a gift card to ensure they will love it. From there, you can find a store where they like to shop or get a prepaid Visa card, which is just about the ultimate gift. Gift cards are very popular, and with good reason. A bit of preparation on your end limits the chance that a scam gift card gets the best of you. 

It is easy to run into a store, pick up a gift card, wrap it, and go. Unfortunately, that is also where scammers may await victims. Let’s take a look at some ways scammers tamper with gift cards. 

Gift Card Number Theft

One common gift card scam comes from thieves who copy down gift card numbers, steal the PIN, and then return the gift card to a “like new” state. They usually create stickers that match the ones that usually cover the PIN, making it difficult to tell that cards have been tampered with. From there, they wait for an unsuspecting customer to purchase the card and activate it, and then use the now active card number and PIN to drain the card’s balance. 

Some criminals also leave the PIN intact and set a computer program to try and brute force the PIN. Since the PINs are usually only four digits, it makes it possible for a hacker to crack the code before you use the card at all. 

When you purchase a prepaid gift card (Visa or Mastercard, for instance), make sure to change the PIN immediately after you activate it. This limits the chances that your gift card is compromised. 

Physical Gift Card Tampering

Another common scam sees criminals creating doctored gift cards where they make official-looking stickers with a fraudulent bar code. They place these on cards that have not yet been sold. Anytime a customer purchases one of these cards and loads it with money, the money goes to a criminal’s card instead of the consumer’s. 

To protect against this scam, check a few gift cards at the store. Make sure they all have different barcodes and that there are no signs of physical gift card tampering visible on any of them. 

When purchasing gift cards, try to find a store that has restricted access to the cards. Smaller retailers that have gift cards behind the counter or in clear view of at least one employee at all times are far more secure than large walls of cards further in the store. Check for camera coverage, as well. 

These two scams are more common among prepaid gift cards like Visa and Mastercard gift cards, but crafty scammers can mess with any physical card on location. 

Finding a secure way to buy gift cards is an important step in protecting against scams. While it is safer to purchase gift cards online, look for stores that have proper protection in their gift card isles. 

Are eGift Cards Secure?

Electronic gift cards are more secure than physical gift cards. Purchasing gift cards directly from the retailer’s site or on a reputable third-party website evades many possible scams. Keep an eye out for red flags on gift card websites, like crazy discounts, a poor user interface, or typos throughout their site. 

While eGift cards are more secure than physical gift cards when purchased in a store, purchasing digital and physical gift cards is safe on a website like Gift Card Granny or directly from a retailer. When using a reputable website, there is no chance for a criminal to tamper with the card before it gets to you. 

Electronic gift cards are emailed immediately. Physical gift cards are shipped from the retailer to your mailbox. 

When to Buy a Gift Card

Buying a gift card is a versatile purchase for friends and family. There are a lot of occasions when gifts are given. We think gift cards are a great way to give a monetary gift that’s more personal than a check or cash. There are a lot of little ways to create fun gifts when you buy a gift card online. 


At the start of our list are birthdays! Birthdays are fantastic occasions and classic ones to give gifts to friends and family. There is, inevitably, a time when it is very hard to figure out the right gifts for your friends. There are phases of everyone’s life where the thing they need the most is, well, money. Buying a gift card online is a great way to get them something you know they will appreciate. Here are a few popular gift cards for birthdays:

  • Buy a Yankee Candle Gift Card. Candles are an amazing addition to any home. Yankee Candle has various models, from colossal three-wick candles to wax melts and everything in between. 
  • Buy a Walmart gift card. Walmart is a great stop for anyone when they need common household goods. These are great places for gift cards, where just about anyone can build a list and head out for some great products with the use of your gift card. 
  • Buy a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf gift card. If your friend loves coffee, then a gift card to a cafe is always a good gift! Gift the gift of cafe-quality grounds with a gift card to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. 


Money is a classic gift for graduation gifts. There are a ton of excellent ways to give monetary graduation gifts, and making a gift card purchase is one of them. 

If the recipient is heading out to college, you can purchase a gift card to help them in their first semester. Here are a few popular gift cards for college students: 


There are a lot of gifts to buy every holiday season. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what gift you should get for friends and family. If you are ever worried about getting a gift that the recipient won’t like or know that they are in a place where monetary gifts are better than a gift card is a great way to show your love. Here are some popular gift cards for the holidays:

  • Buy a Home Depot gift card. This is a gift card for the DIYer in your family. Home Depot is a treasure trove of odds and ends that every seasoned DIYer can categorize and keep in their mind. 
  • Buy a Michaels gift card. For artistic friends and family, a Michaels gift card is a great gift. Michaels has supplies for all kinds of artistic projects. 
  • Buy a Sephora gift card.  Looking good and feeling good are often two sides of the same coin. Sephora is a great gift for family members who have a skincare or beauty routine that they go through each day. Sephora is home to a tremendous quantity of beauty products, and she may frequent there to replenish her stocks. 

There are lots of ways to purchase a gift card safely. Look no further than Gift Card Granny! 

Earn Cash Back On Gift Cards with Gift Card Granny

As a quick reminder, we’ve pointed out all of the retailers on this list that you can find on Gift Card Granny as of this writing. Gift Card Granny makes it easy to buy and send customized gift cards online and earn cash back while you do. Gift Card Granny carries thousands of local and national brands, including Visa gift cards, Mastercard gift cards, and gift cards for many amazing retailers.

Text eGift Cards on GiftYa

Another popular gift-giving site is GiftYa, which also offers customizable eGift cards! GiftYa lets you add custom photos or videos to all your gifts in the form of a virtual gift wrapper. A GiftYa can be sent by text or email, so the gift is always delivered within minutes. You can also schedule the gift to be sent on a specific date, such as a birthday or holiday. With over 16,000 local merchants and 280 national merchants usable at over 230k locations across the US, you can find the perfect gift for anyone!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I buy gift cards safely?

Buy gift cards directly from retailers or online from trusted third-party sellers. Criminals have a chance of tampering with gift cards hanging from racks at supermarkets. This creates situations where you may purchase a gift card and find it bereft of funds. 

How to buy gift cards without getting scammed?

Always check for signs of tampering. Purchase gift cards from stores that have secure gift cards with limited access. You can also buy gift cards online from a third-party retailer or from the retailer itself.

Is it safer to buy gift cards online or in-store? 

It is safer to buy gift cards online. The biggest danger there is entering a disreputable website, but there are many red flags in a website like that, such as crazy deals, typos on the site, and poor user interface. 

What is the safest way to buy a Visa gift card?

The safest way to buy a Visa gift card is from a trusted third-party website. This limits the possibility of tampering with the gift cards, and you can often customize them to perfectly fit the occasion. 

Buy Gift Cards Safely 

You can evade all danger when buying gift cards at Gift Card Granny. There are hundreds of retailers on our site, making it a great place to find any gift card you need. Gift cards purchased from Gift Card Granny are safe. Also, when you purchase a gift card on Gift Card Granny, you earn a bit of cashback on every purchase. It’s a win-win!

Next time you have to purchase a gift card for an upcoming celebration, take some time to look through Gift Card Granny’s list of retailers to see if one catches your eye. Using Gift Card Granny, you will earn cash back on every purchase and can customize gift cards to make every gift memorable. 

From all of us at Gift Card Granny: Happy shopping!