Gift cards are often a go-to present from grandparents for their sometimes difficult-to-buy-for teenaged grandchildren, but they are not safe from swindlers. Scammers can can copy the numbers from cards (by hand or electronically) displayed on racks in busy grocery or drug stores, then check the numbers regularly to see when they are activated and proceed to empty the card of it’s funds.
To beat this scam this holiday season, try taking a card from the back of the rack where it is less likely to have been copied or better yet purchase a gift card straight from the store, restaurant or movie theater. Cards kept behind the store counter are harder to tampered with but always check packaging for signs it has been opened. If possible, register the card on the company website where you can track the balance. Finally, save your receipt in case the card is used fraudulently and it can be replaced. Only buy gift cards from well established, recognized businesses.
To learn more about how to protect yourself from frauds and scams this holiday season, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm .