Now that we’re in full swing of holiday shopping, there are steps to prevent gift card fraud. Gift cards have become a popular method of gift giving within recent years, which means fraud is on the rise. There is nothing wrong with purchasing and giving gift cards, but there is a major step you can take to prevent fraud.
Most gift cards have an identification number and a PIN. The identification number is typically displayed on the front or on the back of the card, similar to a credit card’s identification number. The PIN is hidden under a silver plated coating that can be easily scratched off.
At the point of purchase, the identification number is scanned or swiped to be activated. The card can be used for in-person purchases or online transactions. Online the identification number and PIN have to be entered in. This is where a possibility for fraud starts.
A person wanting to commit fraud can steal the unpurchased cards from a store and take them home. Once home or outside of the store, they can write down the identification numbers and scratch off the coating to obtain the PINs. Then they take the cards back into the store to be sold. They then check online on a regular basis to determine if the cards have been activated. Once activated they can then use the information they wrote down to go online shopping.
The biggest tip we have to help prevent gift card fraud is to ensure the coating covering the PIN has not been scratched off prior to purchase. If it has been scratched off and the PIN is revealed then do not purchase it.