Nobody wants to be scammed, especially during the holidays when these scammers are out here swiping presents from folks. Gift cards are a go-to for many but watch out for this ‘card draining’ scam – it’s turning those cards into useless pieces of plastic with no monetary value.
These sneaky crooks are snatching up stacks of gift cards from stores, jotting down the card number and PIN or activation code. Then, they slyly put them back on the shelves, knowing holiday shoppers will grab them for gifts and load them with money. And get this – they know most folks won’t spend the cash right away. So, by the time someone tries to use them, these fraudsters have already spent the money, leaving the recipient with a worthless card and the person who bought it feeling pretty frustrated.
If you’re thinking of purchasing some gift cards, be on the lookout. Check for scratches, scuff marks, or missing bits on the card. These scammers are next-level, even opening cards that are in the protective cardboard and then resealing them before placing them back on store shelves.
They’re not just stopping at card numbers – they’re getting the PINs too, hiding under that silver foil. And they’re replacing it with a sticker that’s practically identical. Sneaky, right?
Here are tips to help you avoid falling victim to this scam:
- Give the card a good once-over, especially near the barcode for any signs of tampering.
- Make sure the gift card is still sealed, and the PIN or activation code cover is untouched.
- Check that the whole card is in one piece, and no one’s messed with the activation code.
- Hang on to that store receipt, just in case you find out the card’s been messed with.
- If you do spot anything fishy, report it to the gift card company ASAP, freeze those funds, and ask for a refund.
Stay sharp when you’re buying gift cards – these scammers are like the Grinch trying to ruin your holiday vibes!