(KTXL) — The Better Business Bureau advised shoppers to be wary of certain scams when buying and using gift cards this holiday season.
Shoppers should check the gift cards even before buying them, according to the BBB. The agency said some shoppers have already reported being scammed the moment they purchase the card.
One report states a buyer got a gift card that had a sticker over the original barcode that was linked to the scammer’s gift card account. When the cashier scanned it, the money used to pay for the gift card instead went to the scammer’s account.
The BBB recommends running a finger over the barcode to feel for a sticker before purchasing it. Shoppers should also check for ripped or wrinkled card packaging and check to see if the pin is exposed. If anything about the gift card looks suspicious, it’s best to not buy it and report it to the store, the BBB says.
When it comes to online shopping for gift cards, the BBB says sites that offer “too-good-to-be-true gift card deals” should be avoided.
“These websites might be using these offers to steal payment card numbers or other personal information. Instead, go directly to the merchant and purchase a card from them,” the BBB says.
People with gift cards should also be wary of sites that say they can check a gift card’s balance.
“According to BBB.org/ScamTracker reports, some websites that claim to check your gift card balance are really a way to steal money off your card. These sites ask for your card’s ID number and PIN or security code,” the BBB says.
There are ways to protect the money on the gift card once purchasing it, according to the BBB. Gift cards that can be registered with their retailer should be registered. It could let you report it stolen and protect the balance on the card.
Cards that are stolen should be reported to the issuer.
To read more, visit the BBB’s website.