Computer Crime Research Center


Gift cards scams beware!

Date: December 16, 2007

Shoppers in the U.S. will spend a whopping $25 billion on gift cards during this holiday season, according to the Better Business Bureau. That's an increase of $7 billion. However, at least $8 billion in cards will go unused--and scam artists have strategies to steal that money. Gift card scams are not new, but they persist from season to season.

Carol Odell of the Bureau in Colorado Springs says thieves start by targeting gift cards displayed on store counters. "They steal the number off the back. They wait a few days after it's been purchased, and then they check to see if there's a balance left on that card." If there is a balance, your card already may be invalid before you try to use it. "If they are placed up front where anyone could get ahold of them, you probably don't want to buy those. You want to get them where they're in a more secure place, so that the numbers will not have been stolen or scratched off."
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