Avoid scams when buying or selling gift cards

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Photo by AP.

Just received a bunch of gift cards? You should be careful how you use them with scams targeting gift card users on the rise.

Gift cards are the most given requested gifts for the holidays, but if you decide you don’t want to use it and decide to resell it online, the Attorney General is warning about a growing scam that is stealing people’s money.

In some cases, the scammers pretend to be interested in buying your gift card. They have you place a three-way call with the retailer to confirm the balance.

When the retailer enters all your info, the scammers record the sounds and use special software to decode the noise and drain your account.

Simpler scams include fake gift card exchange sites, where they have you enter all your info to confirm the amount, and before you know it, your money is gone.

The Attorney General suggests you never give out card info unless making a purchase directly with the retailer.

Some thieves also record the info on the back of the card before it’s even sold and then wait for somebody to buy it— so time is of the essence. You might want to spend it before the criminal does.

Cards have several security features to prevent theft, but you need to check. Make sure that part hiding the pin number hasn’t been scratched off and look for a sticker replacing the bar code; those are dead giveaways.

Even if you have a receipt, you might not get a refund from the store, but you could get store credit.

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