Even in Santa’s workshop, gift cards are definitely not one of the most popular ways to give to family and friends for the holidays. But gift cards also are a favorite way for scammers to steal people’s money. Anyone who demands that you pay them with a gift card, for any reason, is always a scammer. Simply put, no matter what the story is, never pay with a gift card.
Back to the fun stuff: Giving gift cards. Here are a few things to keep your season merry and bright:
- Buy gift cards from sources you know and trust. Think twice about buying gift cards from online auction sites, to avoid buying fake or stolen cards.
- Inspect gift cards before you buy. A gift card should have all its protective stickers in place. Report the card to the store if anything looks scratched off or damaged.
- When you buy, save the receipt. Keeping the gift card receipt can be helpful if you run into problems with the card.
- Treat gift cards like cash. Report a lost or stolen gift card to the card’s issuer immediately. Most card issuers have toll-free numbers you can find online to report a lost or stolen card. Depending on the card issuer, you may even be able to get some money back.
Spot someone who wants you to pay with a gift card? Tell the FTC: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.