Person holding a white Amazon gift card featuring the Amazon logo in San Ramon, California, USA, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

I don’t think I would have ever thought of this one. The Better Business Bureau is warning about a gift card scam that you may not be aware of. If you’re looking to purchase an actual physical gift card rather than one you may buy online, watch out for this diabolical scammer trick.

If you buy a gift card in a store you need to check to make sure a sticker has not been placed over the barcode. According to pcmag unsavory individuals are printing different barcodes and sticking them over the real barcodes on the cards. The fake barcode leads to a totally different gift card site which is controlled by the thieves. Why is this a concern? When you scan the phony barcode at the checkout and then pay with your credit card, your money goes into the scammer’s account, and your newly purchased gift card will not work when you, or whoever you gift it to, tries to redeem it.

BBB scamtracker reported “A $100 WINNERS gift card was purchased at Sobeys in Grimsby, ON by my Grandmother. The cashier scanned it and it was paid for with cash. When the card was used at a WINNERS it was said to be empty (not activated). We then noticed a sticker covering the barcode. It was very hard to notice. An alternative bar code was scanned and the money was activated to a different code which is not the card I have.” “WINNERS” is owned by TJ Maxx and is a similar type of store.

BBB warns of this practice and advises that you be weary of wrinkled or torn gift card packaging that may appear to be tampered with. If anything on the packaging looks wonky you should pick a different card.

Another good thing to avoid is any website that claims to check your balance. They’re simply gathering gift card information. If you use one of these sites, chances are your balance will quickly be zero.

For more shopping tips to help prevent scams, go to


TSA's Top Security Finds (Snakes, Cats and More)

As we shared with you earlier this week a woman tried to sneak her emotional support boa constrictor onto an airplane. According to CBS, the Transportation Security Administration at Tampa International Airport no snakes were permitted to slither onto a plane after a woman tried smuggling her boa constrictor on board. The woman was flying out of Tampa and tried to stash her boa constrictor in her carry-on luggage, but the TSA’s X-ray machine alerted officials that there was something reptilian inside. That got us wondering what’s the weirdest or most common thing that flyers tried to sneak through airline security. The network also shared the top ten most security finds. See if you’ve ever attempted to carry on any of these when you traveled by air…

  • Fentanyl pills in candy wrappers

  • Gun inside raw chicken

  • Disassembled gun inside jars of peanut butter

  • Gun inside an arm sling

    Line at airport

    Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Airport TSA security screening checkpoint, information sign about firearms. (Photo by: Jeff Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

  • Knife found inside a laptop

  • Drugs inside hair scrunchies

  • Gun inside PlayStation video game console

  • Cattle prods in guitar case

  • Inert hand grenade

  • Money in crutches



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