Gift Card Rip Off

Credit Card
Creative Commons License photo credit: mueritz

Ever had a gift card’s balance go to $0.00 without you using the card? Blame it on some creative thief.

A thief finds a display of cards and writes down the number from the back of the card. Then, everyday the thief phones the tool free number and checks on the card’s balance. Once it has a positive balance, he/she goes online and buys stuff, using your gift card.

Now that news of this is out, the number of incidences will probably climb until retailers change their packaging.

How can you avoid this? Buy gift cards that have an intact protective strip over the number, or that come in a protective package. If the thief cannot get the number ahead of time, you are probably safe.

Alternatively, purchase from a clerk that gets the card from behind the counter (although if there is a dishonest clerk working at that store …).

To read more, including some actual case histories, read this article at The Star.

Keep in mind that this fraud can be committed with the generic gift style VISA cards, which can be used very quickly anywhere that accepts VISA.

Grandpa Richard

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