Use caution when purchasing gift cards

Gift cards are a quick and convenient gift giving solution. Whether you’re pressed for time or the recipient is hard to shop for, a gift card is sure to make the perfect gift.

According to the National Retail Federation, gift card spending is expected to reach $27.6 billion this holiday season.

Gift cards are a notoriously popular item to give during the holidays, and scammers know this.

The Better Business Bureau offer up the following tips when purchasing a gift card this season.

Examine the gift card

Before purchasing a gift card, be sure to give it a thorough look to make sure the PIN number isn’t exposed, or the packaging hasn’t been tampered with.

If anything looks suspicious it’s best to grab a new one.

Treat it like cash

If you lose your gift card or someone steals it, it’s best to report it to the issuer immediately. Some issuers may not allow you to recover any of the funds, and some will, but for a fee.

You may need to show proof of purchase and the ID number on the card.

Use caution when buying from a third party

If you purchase a gift card at an auction or on a third party website you may end up with a gift card that has no value, is expired, or was fraudulently obtained.

Don’t pay using a gift card

No reputable company would ask for payment via a gift card. If you receive a call demanding you must pay using a gift card, just hang up. Scammers use scare tactics by threatening you with jail time unless you pay them immediately with a gift card.

Keep your information private

No reputable business would ever ask you for personal information when purchasing a gift card. If they do, take that as a big red flag and purchase one elsewhere.

Following these tips will ensure that you or your loved ones don’t get scammed out of their gift cards this year.

If you want to view any gift card scams in your area or report any suspected scams, you can do so by using BBB Scam Tracker.