Gift cards are a great way to go for the people in your life that have everything, or are impossible to buy for. About.com reports that gift card sales will reach nearly $25 billion for the 2006 season. Unfortunately, there are always scam artists trying to make a quick buck. So here's some tips to protect yourself:
- Buy cards directly from the store or the retailers secure website, don't buy from auction site or unknown source.
- Carefully examine the card to make sure it doesn't appear to have been tampered with. Look for swipe lines, packaging flaws, and any other wear or tear.
- If the PIN has been exposed in any way, don't buy it. Thieves copy the numbers from gift cards hanging on store racks. Periodically, they will call the reatiler's 800 number to check on the balance. If the card has been activated, the thieves use the card numbers to purchase items from the retailer's website.
- Keep your receipt as proof of purchase. If the card is tampered with, the store will usually replace it for you because they can track purchases, and compare them to when the card itself was actually activated.
- When you buy a gift card, ask the cashier to check the balance for you, to make sure it is the balance you just paid for.
Happy Holidays everyone!