Gift cards are popular and convenient, especially this time of year. Many retailers put the blank cards in prominent display stands throughout their stores to promote them.
Don’t purchase a gift card from these easily accessible displays. Why? Because a thief with a cheap scanner can read the barcode on the back of the card. Even if the card is not preloaded, the thief only needs to know the card number, the security code on the card and the 800 customer service number printed on the back of the card.
The thief calls the 800 number every few days to see if the card has been “loaded”. They spend the money immediately and the recipient of your gift is left with a worthless piece of plastic.
To avoid falling victim to this scam, only buy gift card from vendors who keep the cards behind the counter. This is not a guarantee that the card information has not been compromised, but the odds of not getting scammed are better.
Happy and safe shopping!