BBB: Be aware of gift card thefts

Gift cards will be one of the most popular Christmas gifts, as three quarters of shoppers will buy one this season.

But, the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida is warning that scammers could be waiting to drain the money from gift cards before the person receiving the gift gets it.

The BBB of Central Florida President and CEO Holly Salmons said, “This time of year when there’s volume buying this is the time of year to really be hyper aware and make sure you protect yourself and the gift that you’re purchasing,” 
Salmons said.

Scammers will write down the gift card number and the secret pin number by scratching off the area that hides it. 

Then, they track the card online and drain the money once the card is loaded. 

“They could be sitting at the computer, anywhere, waiting for that card to be loaded and by time you give the card, the money’s gone,” Salmons said.

“That’s sad,” said Keri Gasiorowski. 

She buys gift cards for family and friends almost every year. 

“To be the receiver and understand you get a gift card, and it could just be nothing on it, that’s terrible,” she said.

Salmons said once the money is gone it is almost impossible to get back. 

She recommends checking a gift card before buying to make sure it has not been compromised. 

She said gift cards not in protective packaging are easier to compromise. 

Salmons said, “Make sure the packaging hasn’t been compromised and that the area on the back that has a pin number or access number, that shouldn’t be scratched off.” 

Salmons said turn the gift card into a store employee if you notice something is wrong with it.