Consumer Alert: Gift card fraud

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

Gift cards are a great last-minute gift, but experts say the items have become the gift that keeps on giving for cybercriminals.

Consumer advocates warn that hackers have started using software that cycles through millions of gift card accounts until the find one with a balance.

“Where possible, you should register your gift card, and that way you establish ownership,” said Shelley Hunter, a consumer advocate who specializes in gift cards. “It really associates that gift card with you. And then if somebody else is trying to randomly pick up on your gift card numbers, it won’t matter because it’s already associated with you.”

Hunter offered the following tips to avoid gift card fraud:

  • Don't pick the first gift card on the rack; go back a few.
  • Check the packaging to make sure the card hasn't been tampered with along the seams.
  • Make sure the ID number is hidden; if not get another card.

While gift card theft is not nearly as common as credit card theft, a few precautions can prevent the likelihood of it happening.

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