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  • Dec 15, 2022

'Tis the Season!

The Holiday and gift-giving season are here. Don’t know what to get someone? Gift cards are a wonderful option, but buyer beware.

Gift Cards let the receiver purchase whatever they want. But (seems like there is always a but...), let’s keep in mind what gift cards are. They are an electronic card that holds the value of money on them.  They are for giving as a gift. Unfortunately, they are a scammers dream. You don’t actually need the gift card in your hands to use the value on it. You only need the code off of the card. That makes gift cards very handy to those who want to take money from us.

No reputable person, business, utility, or government agency will ever ask you to pay for anything using a gift card.  Never!

The methods the scammers use, whether by emergency, deadline, fear, or threat is to get you to buy a gift card and then provide them with the numbers that are revealed when scratched. With this information they can take the value of the card instantly. Because some store clerks are wise to this ruse, the scammers will often get the victim to buy gift cards of moderate value in several places to avoid raising suspicion. If you are ever in this situation, you are being scammed. You need to break off contact with the scammer and seek help from authorities no matter what the scammer is telling you.

This tactic has worked on a whole range of people including doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc. Anyone can fall for these types of ruses.

There are also scams where they will promise you a gift card and all you have to do is give them information or money to receive it. That is a method to get your personal information so that they can further scam you. Be very skeptical of offers that you are not expecting and seem too good to be true.

The final gift card threat is when a scammer goes to a store and pulls the necessary information off of a card that has not been purchased yet. They then “fix” the card and put it back. The scammer then monitors for when the card has been purchased and pulls the value off of it before the consumer does. Always check the gift card you are purchasing to make sure no one has tampered with it.

Amazing, isn’t it? All these ways to be scammed. Just remember, you are your best protection. Be careful, be aware and protect yourself from the many scams constantly coming your way.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a ton of good information on these types of topics. Sign up for their emails. You never know what you will learn from them. You pay for it in your taxes, so use the services. For more information on this topic, visit the FTC at:

Happy Holidays and stay safe!

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