BBB shares gift card safety tips ahead of holiday shopping season

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As the holidays draw closer, shopping experts say now is the time to start purchasing your gifts. However, finding the perfect gift can be hard, so why not grab a gift card?

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), gift cards have been the most desired gifts for the last 13 years. In fact, 59 percent of people prefer to receive gift cards as holiday presents, the BBB says.

However, when there are a lot of people interested in something, scammers are not far behind. The BBB says that 29 different types of scams involving gift cards have been reported in 2021.

With gift card fraud increasing, here are some tips to protect yourself when purchasing these types of presents:

  • Thieves are known to record numbers associated with gift cards, like the activation PIN. If you see any signs of tampering or an exposed PIN number, choose a different card.
  • Buy gift cards from stores that keep the cards behind or close to the counter, making it harder to tamper with the cards.
  • Buy gift cards online because scammers can’t access them as easily.
  • Treat gift cards like credit cards. If the card is lost or stolen, report it immediately.
  • Use the gift card as soon as possible. Letting your card sit could lead to loss or theft.
  • Only use gift cards as gifts for people you know, not for payments.
  • Legitimate businesses and government agencies will never demand payment in gift cards.

Julie Wheeler, president and CEO of BBB Serving Western Virginia, shared new information about the type of people who fall for these scams.

“The 55 and older has always been the high target age group for most of the scams,” Wheeler said. “However, we have seen in our latest numbers that 18 to 29 group more and more victims.”

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