FBI Warns Idaho & California Shoppers of New Gift Card Scam
The holiday season is upon us and one of the most popular (and easy) gifts to get someone is a gift card.
The thing is though, unless you've known the person for some time or where they like to shop, picking a gift card can be a difficult task. That's why so many people choose the always-safe and reliable Visa Vanilla gift cards.
Not so fast! Scammers are on the prowl...
The holiday season is one of the most popular times of year for scammers to take advantage of shoppers. Police and the FBI say that gift cards are becoming targets of scammers before they even go into the Christmas card.
The scam is known as "card draining" and according to police, "involves thieves removing a gift card from store shelves and carefully procuring the card's information before returning it to the rack."
What that means for consumers is that you're putting money into a gift card that a scammer will use, because they already have the information tucked away. It's a clever but foul scam and one that is hard to protect yourself against.
Messed up, right? It gets worse.
The FBI says that thieves are taking things a step further by placing fake barcodes on the back of gift cards. According to the FBI, "When you purchase the card, the cashier scans the fake barcode at the checkout, which quietly pushes your money into the scammer’s gift card account, leaving you with a zero balance."
It's crazy to think that we already have so many scams out there threatening our bank accounts and personal information. Now, we have to worry about the gift cards that we're purchasing with the intent of spreading holiday cheer.
Sure, one gift card getting ripped off isn't thousands of dollars but it still can affect so many people with some relying on that money during the season.
The Feds say that if you've been affected by this scam, you can report it here.
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