Last minute gift shopping? BEWARE rampant gift card scams

Don't stuff stockings with scammed gift cards!

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – If you’re looking at gift cards for last-minute stocking stuffers, shop smart, and avoid getting scammed. 

The Better Business Bureau shared these best tips with News 40:

Before buying a gift card, run your finger over the back to check whether a sticker has been applied on top of the barcode. 

The Better Business Bureau reports scammers are tampering with in-store gift cards by adding stickers printed with barcodes over top of the card’s real barcode.

Also, thieves are known to remove gift cards from the display rack and record the numbers associated with that card, including the activation PIN. Carefully look at the packaging for any tears, wrinkles, or other indications of tampering, and see if the PIN is exposed.

Urge the person you’re gifting to register their new gift card online for extra security.

Greater Kentucky BBB Community & Media Relations Coordinator Heather Clary says, “There are rings of scam artists that are very adept at these types of things. They have computer software that they can run, and they can bleed gift cards] dry. Better Business Bureau has received calls in the past of people who received a gift card, and they took it to the register and it had nothing on it but a couple of dollars.”

Finally, if you receive a gift card in your stocking, use it quickly.  The longer a card sits around, the more likely a cybercriminal is to steal the balance.