Gift card scams on the rise during the holidays
HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The Better Business Bureau wants to warn people about the popularity of gift card scams this holiday season.
Officials there report a 50 percent increase in these scams this year, as compared to last year at this time.
Better Business Bureau Vice President of Communications, Josh Planos said that the reason why these scams are so popular is because the money on the gift cards are hard to trace once a transaction has been made.
“Those transaction are irrevocable, so once that money is sent, very very difficult for that consumer to ever see that money again, regardless of whether they were engaged in a scam. When you think about paying for service with a credit card, you have that built-in opportunity to dispute the charge, you have things that are backed by collateral, gift cards are not backed,” Planos said.
In order to avoid gift card scams, the Better Business Bureau has the following tips to protect yourself:
- Be wary of anyone asking for payment with a gift card, including “government” agencies. No legitimate government organization will ask you to pay with a gift card.
- If you suspect a scam, contact the gift card seller, the actual business or government organization supposedly asking for money, and BBB to ask if you are dealing with a scammer. To find contact information, go directly to the organization’s website rather than search for their customer service number, which can be spoofed by scammers.
- Keep all information related to your purchase if you are scammed, because some retailers may require that information for refunds.
- If you suspect fraud, act immediately, contact the gift card seller or the number on the back of the card to report it.
Planos also encourages you to report a scam, whether you lost money or not because the more they are aware of the scam, the more they can help others, who have either experienced one, or prevent others from experiencing one.
“The only way we can do something about what you’re experiencing is to know that you’re experiencing it, so it’s really important to bring that information forward even if you haven’t lost money to a scam. If you’ve experienced something that you think is fraud, bring that information to us and we can work with you on beginning that process,” Planos said.
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