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.