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Be careful with gift cards, feds warn

Scammers increasingly demand payment by gift card
Posted at 11:29 AM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 11:29:48-05

INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re planning to buy or use a gift card this holiday season, make sure you take some steps to protect your money.

The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning this week, reminding consumers to inspect gift cards before they buy, including making sure it has all its protective stickers in place.

  • When you buy, save the receipt. Keeping the gift card receipt can be helpful if you run into problems with the card.
  • Treat gift cards like cash. Report a lost or stolen gift card to the card’s issuer immediately. Most card issuers have toll-free numbers you can find online to report a lost or stolen card. Depending on the card issuer, you may even be able to get some money back.
  • Buy gift cards from sources you know and trust. Think twice about buying gift cards from online auction sites, to avoid buying fake or stolen cards.
  • Read the gift card’s terms and conditions. Know the deal you’re getting with gift cards. For example, are there fees every time it gets used – or if it sits unused?
  • Remember that gift cards are for gifts, not payments. Gift cards are a scammer’s favorite way to steal people’s money. Anyone who demands that you pay them with a gift card, for any reason, is always a scammer.

Simply put, never pay with a gift card, according to the FTC.

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