Bismarck – Tis the season for giving.
But experts are warning your generosity could be going to scammers, if your not mindful.
Everyone loves to give gifts, but in this day in age, it seems finding the perfect gift for that special someone is getting harder and harder.
That’s when most people turn to the gift card. In fact 60% of people are now requesting gift cards as gifts.
They’re perfect, easy to buy, are available almost anywhere and most cards can have any dollar amount you wish loaded on them.
But in today’s cyber world, thieves are turning their attention to gift cards as a new way to scam you out of your money.
In fact, nearly 30-percent of people who reported being scammed this year say a gift card was involved, and losses from gift card scammers totaled more than 50-million dollars.
KX News spoke with the Consumer Protection division of the Attorney Generals Office and he tells me to be weary of buying gift cards that could turn out to have no value.
“You pull a gift card off the shelf, you go to the register, they load it with your 50 or 100 dollars, unfortunately what you don’t know is somebody has already reviewed all those cards or taken photos and constantly checking to see if that card is valuable and loaded they’ll strip it of the value before the recipient can use it” Said Parrell Grossman of the Attorney Generals Office.
But authorities and companies are fighting back against the scammers.
Wal-Mart,Target, and Best Buys have recently changed it’s gift card policy to limit how much a person can pre-load onto a gift card…Best Buy lowered the amount from two thousand dollars down to five hundred while Wal- Mart Slashed it’s from one thousand to five hundred dollars.
“I think that’s great that their being proactive about that, I just think the ultimate responsibility falls on us as the consumer to be sure we are protecting ourselves and to be sure telling our friends and loved ones about all the various pitches in which they might ask you to divulge the numbers off of your gift card.” Said Grossman.
Grossman adds scammers have turned to gift cards because they can remain anonymous, the payment is nearly impossible to be reversed and it’s a quick way to get cash.
Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Experts say if you get a call from a stranger claiming to be a family member in trouble and they need gift card numbers to help, hang up and call the family member directly.
Grossman also tells us, once you’ve been scammed, it’s almost impossible to get your money back.