Live 5 Scambusters: BBB warns about scams targeting holiday shoppers buying gift cards

Updated: Dec. 19, 2019 at 5:50 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - An easy last-minute gift idea or stocking stuffer has become a target for scam artists. The Better Business Bureau says scam artists are targeting gift cards during the holidays.

The National Retail Federation says the average shopper will buy three to four gift cards this year and put about $47 dollars on each card. That means those little pieces of plastic will represent about $27.5 billion. Scammers want to get their hands in that pot of money.

The BBB says shoppers need to take a moment to check the card before buying it to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with or compromised. The BBB says a thief will take cards off the rack, get the card number and PIN and then put it back on the rack.

Once they have the card information, they wait until someone buys the card and activates it. Then the thief drains the card and the gift you pass on is an empty piece of plastic. Some scam artists go an extra step and add a fake barcode to make the card look untouched.

Scammers may also put the card on the front of the rack so it’s the next one taken. The BBB advises you to pull from the middle of the rack if you can. It also suggests getting cards from kiosks or displays in high traffic and highly visible areas where thieves are less likely to tamper with the cards.

Taking a few seconds to check out the card before you buy could save a lot a disappointment later.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at

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