Holiday Tips for Gift Cards

With the holidays upon us many last minute shoppers may opt to buy those on their holiday shopping list gift cards. BBB provides some tips for buying and using gift cards to help keep your generosity from going to scammers.
December 21, 2016

BBB serving Central Florida provides the below tips for using gift cards and prepaid cards.

  • Buy from sources you know and trust. Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites since it is unknown if the cards may have been obtained fraudulently or if they are counterfeit.

  • Inspect the card before you buy it. Verify that none of the protective stickers have been removed. Make sure that the codes on the back of the card haven't been scratched off to reveal a PIN number. Report any damaged cards to the store selling the cards. Don’t purchase a card if codes on the back have been scratched off. Scammers may use this information to track the card and take the money off of it after it is purchased.

  • Give the recipient your original receipt so they can verify the card’s purchase.

  • If purchasing a retail gift card consider purchasing the card directly from the restaurant or retailer that it is intended to be used at.

  • If purchasing a bank gift card (one carrying the logo of a card network like Visa, MasterCard or American Express) consider checking with your bank if you can purchase it directly from them.

  • Purchase gift cards and prepaid cards with a credit card.

  • Use your card as soon as you can.

  • Treat your card like cash. If the card is lost or stolen, report it to the issuer immediately. You may need to show proof of purchase and the ID number on the card. Most issuers have a toll-free number you can call to report a lost or stolen card.