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 bbb.org.
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