Avoiding gift card scams

Reporter: Rich Kolko Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Gift cards. Photo via CBS.
Gift cards. Photo via CBS.

Gift card sales are way up, more than double what they were in the previous quarter of 2020.

One of those cards may be a gift for you during the holidays. But that means more opportunities for people to swipe your money. Gift cards make it easy to purchase items from home, but it’s important to know their value. When you find that card and wonder how much is it still worth, cybersecurity expert Carrie Kerskie says to be careful.

“Go to the website listed on the back of the gift card,” Kerskie said. “Don’t do an internet search for ‘check my balance’ because you could end up on a bad guys website where the intention is just to steal the funds you have on that card.”

A few other tips to keep your gift cards safe:

  • Buy from reputable outlets — off-brand websites may be scams
  • Check the back of the card — it may be scratched off and already used
  • Research policies — things like returns may be different
  • Treat them like cash

Be wary: Gift cards lose value over time. No one wants their gift to become worthless.

The Better Business Bureau and AARP have some resources on avoiding these scams.

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