Gift–Card Scams: 7 Tips to Avoid Getting Ripped Off

Every year, American consumers spend more than $130 billion on gift cards, and every year scammers are out to steal money that consumers have loaded on these cards. In fact, criminals can easily deplete the value of a card before consumers have a chance to use them. 

Tactics include taking gift cards displayed in stores and using a skimmer to read the card’s magnetic strip; criminals can also simply copy the card number. Some fraudsters place replacement stickers over scratch-off codes that have already been exposed. Once they possess the card data, criminals monitor the cards online until a consumer takes the card to the register and adds a balance. 

Alan Brill, Senior Managing Director in Cyber Risk practice at Kroll, a division of Duff & Phelps, stresses that buyers should understand how gift cards can be vulnerable to criminal activity. “As long as a bad guy can get to the card, there’s a real chance that the bad guy can take over the card in a way that you’ll never notice,” says Alan Brill “Buyer beware doesn’t stop when you switch from physical merchandise to gift cards.”

Read the full article on the Chicago Sun Times website

 
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