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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


Gift Card Scam

Dec 02

Gift Card Scam

Gift cards are a popular form of holiday gift giving. I personally would rather get a gift card than some of the more interesting clothing selections I’ve received from a certain aunt. If you are considering sharing holiday cheer with gift cards, be careful when selecting them for your friends and loved ones. Thieves have figured out a way to exploit this popular form of gift-giving.

This gift card scam is being called “Card Not Present” or “CNP”.  How this scam operates is a thief will record the numbers of certain gift cards offered for sale.  The thief will then periodically check to see if the cards bearing those numbers have been activated and have had a value added to them. When they find cards that have, they use them to make online purchases.  Using the gift cards this way allows the scammer to drain them of their cash value before the intended user can use them.

If you are intending to give gift cards this holiday season, it is suggested that you only purchase cards that have been stored in a secure location. Purchasing a gift card stored under lock and key may reduce your chances of being ripped off but it won’t guarantee protection from this scam. 
Here are additional tips to keep in mind when purchasing gift cards:

– Don’t buy gift cards off of publicly displayed racks in retail stores

– Always carefully examine both the front and back of a gift card before you buy it

– Always ask the store cashier to scan the gift card in front of you

– Always keep your receipt as a proof of purchase as long as there is money stored on the gift card

– Register your gift card at the store’s website

– Never give your Social Security number, date of birth or any other private information when you purchase a gift card

To avoid a scam such as this during the holidays, what other gift giving ideas do you have other than giving the typical wrapped gift?

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