Scam of the day – December 7, 2016 – Gift card scams

Buying a gift card as a gift is both an easy way to purchase a gift for someone and a good way to make sure that the gift is something that the receiver of the gift can actually use and enjoy.  It definitely is a win-win situation.  However, scammers are always present to take any good thing and turn it into a scam.  Scammers will go to racks of gift cards and using handheld scanners that are easy to obtain, they read the code on the strip of the card and the number on the front.  They then put the card back in the display and then periodically check with the retailer by calling its 800 number to check on whether the card has been activated and what the balance is on the card.  Once they have this information they can either create a counterfeit card using the information they have stolen or order material online without having the actual card in hand.

TIPS

When buying a gift card, only purchase cards from behind the customer service desk and if the card is preloaded, always ask for the card to be scanned to show that it is still fully valued.  Some retailers, in an effort to reduce gift card fraud, will also put a PIN on the gift card so that if the card is used online, the user must have access to the PIN which is generally covered and must have the covering material scratched off in order to be visible.  Unfortunately, many purchasers of gift cards are not aware of this so they don’t even notice that the PIN on the card that they are purchasing has already had the covering material scratched off by the scammer who has recorded the PIN.

Scam of the day – November 22, 2012 – Special delivery scam

One of the latest holiday scams involves you receiving a note on your front door that appears to come from either the United States Postal Service, UPS or Federal Express indicating that delivery of a special delivery package was attempted, but that you were not home.  You are then given a telephone number to call to arrange for delivery of the package.  Unfortunately, you are put on hold for an inordinately long time.  Even more unfortunately, the telephone number you have called is a premium number like a 900 number that carries huge charges and the longer you stay on the line, the greater the charges.

TIPS

Don’t think that merely because the number you are calling is not a 900 number that it may not be a premium number that can cost you money.  When you receive such a notice of an attempted delivery, you cannot be sure that the notice is legitimate.  The best thing you can do is to call either the United States Postal Service, UPS or Federal Express directly at a phone number that you know is accurate to follow up on the notice.  If you did not do so and you end up with huge phone charges, you can dispute the charges with your phone carrier and have them removed from your bill.