Crime is everywhere and all around us. Not all crime is requires the use of stun guns or pepper spray to thwart a potential assault or robbery. Some crimes are perpetrated by white collar or blue collar people who take advantage of others when they least expect it.
Even though the Holidays season comes once a year, gift card sales are an ongoing business for many retailers. Because of this, there is something you should know about gift card scams. These scams can siphon the value right out of your card before you get to use it.
First of all and perhaps the rarest of these is called the Card Not Present (CNP) scam. Unscrupulous gift card number thieves record the number of cards up for sale. Then they regularly check to see if the cards bearing those same numbers have been activated with an existing balance on the card. Upon the card's activation, gift card number thieves use them to make online purchases. This allows the crooked user to drain the cash value before their intended recipients have a chance to use them.
This method does not work on all gift cards. They work on the ones allowing "card not present" situations such as internet transactions. Some gift cards have special scratch-off coverings similar to those used on instant-win lottery tickets. Once they are rubbed off, they can not be put back.
If an unsuspecting customer buys one of these cards, the fact that it had been tampered with and its personal identification number (PIN) coating removed might go unnoticed until its recipient tries to use it. Most people do not understand the importance of the PIN, so a scratched off PIN coating might not alert them to any fraud. If you DO give gift cards as gifts, only buy cards stored in secure locations that make tampering difficult. Be aware that store clerks have been known to engage in this practice. Buying gift cards stored under lock and key may reduce your chances of being ripped off but it will not guarantee that this scam will not happen.
Whenever you find a gift card from a store display or have a clerk hand it to you, always take the time to scrutinize both sides of the card before paying for it. If the PIN covering has been scratched off or you see other signs of tampering, get another card. Let the store manager know why. If the card can not be used for online purchases, there is no need to worry about the card as much because the thief would need the actual card to use it.
Another, more common form of gift card fraud, is when a reseller overstates the value of the cards they are selling. Yet another involves thieves using stolen credit cards to activate gift cards which subsequently are turned around and sold for cash.
Here are some other ways gift cards have been used by crooks:
• Employees at stores steal the gift cards from displays, activate them with store scanners, and then make purchases. Sometimes they use the stolen cards to buy new gift cards to launder their stolen goods.
• Thieves masquerading as customers practice sleight-of-hand by switching unactivated gift cards for new gift cards activated by clerks during a sale, then change their minds and cancel their purchases. The cashiers are clueless because they think they got the new cards back and the crook leaves the store with the new card.
• Stolen cards can end up on auction websites where the unsuspecting bidder places bids on them to get a good deal. The National Retail Federation warns consumers to only purchase gift cards online from a reputable dealer and never through an internet auction because the card you are bidding on may be stolen or counterfeit.
• Crooks will carefully open up bar code-bearing gift card packaging to take out the new, unactivated cards and put in cards that have had their values drained. When these "empty" cards are sold, the activation of the packaging's bar code loads up the real card, which is in the crooks' hands, with the funds.
How to Avoid Gift Card Schemes
• Only buy gift cards from reputable places. Get them directly from the store they are from.
• Do not assume that if a store has gift cards under lock and key, it means they have not been tampered with and their number accessed. Carefully examine both sides of the card and look for signs of tampering such as an exposed PIN. If you find anything out of the ordinary, request another card and check it out as well.
• Internet gift card purchases should be made from the website of the retailer they are intended to be used at. Never buy them on auction website even if the deal looks really good. Again, these cards may be stolen or counterfeit.
• Keep your receipt as proof of purchase until the card's value has been used up. If you lose the card, you may be able to show a cashier at the store your receipt and have them issue you a new gift card. Not all stores will do this but many will.
• Have the cashier scan the card at the time of purchase to make sure that the gift card you buy is valid and has the right balance.
Beware of these gift card schemes because this fraud is a form of theft by deception.Immobilienmakler Heidelberg Makler Heidelberg
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Source by Fabiola Castillo