ALEXANDRIA, VA – Most US consumers will purchase a gift card for someone this holiday season. While these gifts are easy to give and popular to get, they are also open to fraud. A 2022 AARP survey found that one in four people have either given or received a gift card with no funds on it.
Your best bet may be to buy gift cards online directly from the issuer. Cards on store racks are easy prey for criminals, who can grab the cards, secretly record the numbers off the back and return the cards to the rack. That said, criminals are now using “bots” online to find activated gift cards with balances and stealing them that way. When you get a gift card, check the balance and take a picture of it, register it if you can, and use it sooner than later.
And remember, if anyone asks you to pay a debt or obligation with a gift card, it’s a scam.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all. Learn how to proactively spot scams or get guidance if you’ve been targeted. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the dedicated helpline to speak to a fraud specialist at 1-877-908-3360.