Consumer Alert: Gift Card Scam

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Here in Illinois this year alone consumers are expected to spend $24 billion on gift cards. But the value of the card might change before it's even unwrapped. ‘Tis the season to beat the system. This year gift cards seem to be the gift that keeps on giving. So much that you might be paying for a strangers shopping spree. Shopper Bonnie Nofsinger couldn’t believe the newest scam. She says, “Whoever’s going to pull it off is going to rake it in. It's just bad for us honest people."

For the first time ever, look out for the “Grinch Who Stole Gift Cards” or at least the pin number. Scam artists are taking information from the cards but don't buy them. They just go home and wait for the card to be activated. Once it is, it's time to shop.

Dennis Horton with the Better Business Bureau states, "What's to say you are the person who bought the gift card and you go to use it and find out it has no value."

Shopper Rashon Rose says, "This is supposed to be the season of giving and people doing that is marring the season of Christmas."

To protect our perfect present you should look before you buy. Horton goes on to say, “You should make sure that gift card hasn't been tampered with. Make sure the packaging hasn't been ripped, slit at all."

Make sure you keep your eyes on the cashier scanning the card and don't leave the store without a receipt. Another suggestion is instead of grabbing the front card why not go to the very end. By the time you want to use this card or the person you are giving it to actually does the bad guys might not have gotten to this number."

It's best if you buy a gift card close to the register or behind the counter. Some retailers won't let you use a gift card online or they'll ask for your credit card information. Don't be offended it's just a step that any thief would shy away from. Thieves are also swapping the new card for an expired or worthless card.