Gift Card Fraud: How to Prevent It during the Holidays

Gift cards are the perfect gift – during the holidays or any time of year. They make gift giving easy – whether it’s for that hard-to-shop-for person or your list, the person who has everything, or the person you just want to show appreciation to. Online merchants who sell gift cards make gift giving less stressful. However, you must guard against gift card fraud.

Following are two common gift card fraud schemes to be aware of.

Gift Card Fraud: Two Common Schemes

Employee Theft: Employees, obviously, have easy access to gift cards. All they have to do after stealing one is to activate it with the store’s scanners. After gift cards are activated, it’s like shopping with cash. You simply purchase what you want.

The Bar Code Switch: Have you ever received a gift card with no funds on it? This could be deemed the “bar code switch” gift card fraud scheme.

This is the way it works: a thief opens up a new gift card package, which has the bar code on it. They take the new gift card inside out and slip in an old card that has no money on it. This is known as the empty card.

When an unsuspecting customer buys one of these “empty cards,” the bar code activation puts the money on the real card, which the thief has in their possession

How to Protect Yourself from Gift Card Fraud

When you purchase gift cards, the best way to protect yourself from gift card fraud is to only buy from a reputable discount gift card seller. Why is this important? Gift cards are just like cash. And, many sites that sell them act only as listing agents. This means that if the gift card is found to be fraudulent or the funds have been used, you usually have no recourse.

However, when you purchase from a reputable discount gift card seller, your gift card is guaranteed. Reputable gift card sellers go the extra mile. They purchase all the gift cards they sell, verify the merchant behind the card, and the balance on the card. Then and only then do they sell them to you, the customer.

That’s gift card fraud protection at its best!

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