Scam artists are practically taking over almost everything they can squeeze their thieving fingers into. And now, the gift card sector is also getting the full force of these menaces. The gift card market is growing at an exponential rate and bringing in some serious cash especially during the holidays. But this is also the time the online scammers get busy trying to reap something from you via selling fake gift cards online. For a multibillion-dollar industry, the gift card sector is not doing a great job regarding security. Many shoppers are now opting for to buy and sell gift cards for their holiday presents. This also makes them an attractive target especially for fraudsters because, unlike debit and credit cards, gift cards do not have any identifying name attached to them. Instead, you find a string of numbers which are used for identification. These numbers are relatively easy to find and used to pull off a gift card fraud. And this is the case with pretty much everything that involves cash flow or transfer.

It is, therefore, crucial that you pay close attention to what you are about to read here so you do not fall victim of a gift card fraud. You never know what will happen next.

Most gift card thieves case the racks of gift card stores where they write any identifying number they can find. Some even use scanners to lift and record the identifying numbers and any other identifying information from the magnetic strips. Armed with this data, the thieves can then use this information to check if the gift cards have been bought and used by unsuspecting customers. As soon as they realize that any of the gift cards are active, they can then use their copied identifying numbers to go on a shopping spree. And that is where you lose control of your gift cards.

Thieves can also use a stolen bank card to create a counterfeit card. They can then use this card in a store or even to make online purchases. In both instances, the fraud victims never even realize that their gift cards are null and void until it is too late. You may have not yet even received your gift card; maybe it is still on the way being shipped. But the damage will have already been done. If you are lucky, you may still find any balance on the gift card but that rarely happens as the fraudsters make sure they clean the whole amount.

Most gift card frauds occur because the retailers do not package their gift cards well enough. If you find that the seal hiding the identifying numbers are not properly set. This gives the burglars an opportunity to steal this sensitive information and use it as they please. The activation stickers that are attached to the outside packaging of some gift cards can also be a way of scamming unsuspecting victims. The thieves can swap these activation stickers and wait for you to activate them. Only that instead of activating your gift card, you will have activated the scammer’s.

It is, therefore, important that you always check the source of the gift card you are about to buy. You best avoid buying any gift cards from shops or stores where they have been prominently displayed. Thieves will use that opportunity to steal the cards’ identifying numbers and wait for you to make the next move. You will be the pig heading to the slaughter, so to speak.

You can also spot a fraudulent gift card from the way it has been packaged. Before you make any other move, ensure you carefully examine the packaging of the gift card. If you notice any part of the coating that covers the PIN number has been tampered with, then the gift card may be no good. You will also want to check the condition of the activation sticker. If it is not as firm as it should be, then something is amiss and you should proceed with caution.

If you thought that was bad, wait until you hear the next scamming method used. Thieves have even gone as far as selling their gift cards online. This time, they write the card’s numeric identifiers and keep them. So, when an unsuspecting buyer purchases and activates the gift card, the thief heads out and spends all the amount in the gift card before the buyer has the chance to use it. this form of fraud is more common in discount websites. These discount websites are, however, trying to combat this problem by selling the gift cards with different identification numbers but with the same values.

Other websites and online retailers like eBay have gone a step further to put policies on their gift cards like barring sellers from selling more than one gift card at a time. Doing this has stamped down the gift card fraud and made it less lucrative.

One way of avoiding falling a victim to gift card fraud is by spending your gift card immediately you get it. do not put it in your drawer for months hoping to use it later. The more time you waste keeping your gift card, the more time you leave for the thieves to do whatever they want with them. The moment you can access your gift card, spend any balance in there as soon as possible.

Final thoughts

The gift card industry is booming and many people now prefer gift cards for presents during holidays. They have become an attractive source of revenue and grown to become a multibillion-dollar business. From the above article, you should also know that online scammers are out for your money and they are using every means possible to steal it from under your nose. Do not make this easy for them. Use the points mentioned above to identify and stay away from any possible gift card fraud. You will now be safer knowing what if waiting for you, the dangers, when and after buying a gift card.