Gift cards can be the perfect present. Easy to carry, easy to wrap, easy to use. But gift cards, especially those good for buying things online, are becoming the target of thieves.
Scam artists don't steal gift cards from the store or out of your pocket. Instead, they go to gift card racks and write down the card numbers. After a few days they call the toll-free customer service number to check the remaining balance on the card. Once they find the card has been activated, the thieves go online and start shopping with your card.
If you buy gift cards from a display rack in the store, you may become a victim.
Tips to avoid gift card scams:
Buy gift cards from the person behind the counter if you can. It's safer than buying it off the rack.
Opt for gift cards that have a protective backing or a scratch-off PIN number so that only the purchaser can use it.
Check the packaging or the back of the card for tampering before you purchase the card.
Always keep your receipts, which will usually show the card number and how much you have paid.