Scammers targeting gift cards

GIFT CARDS

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The National Retail Federation says Americans will spend nearly $25 billion on gift cards this holiday season.  That’s a lot of money being targeted by thieves.

You’d expect Baesler’s Market to be busy at Christmas time.  But you may not expect that they do a lot of business in gift cards.

“All year long, we do business in gift cards, especially around the holidays it picks up,” said Casey Baesler of Baesler’s Market.

Casey Baesler is not just helping customers or showing off his orange hair in honor of Orange Friday.  He and his co-workers are keeping a close eye on their gift card kiosk by customer service.  He’s well aware that thieves are targeting gift cards as a way to rip off his customers.

“There’s really no money in it for us.  We have it just as a benefit for our customers,” Baesler said.

Here’s what thieves are doing.  Some thieves will carry an electronic scanner to store the barcode number or magnetic strip information.  On other cards, like this southwest airlines card, they’ll unveil the pin number that’s hidden on the back, take a picture of it, then wait for the card to be activated.

That’s why Baesler’s has trained all cashiers not to sell gift cards with scratched off pin numbers to customers.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, we had a card that had been scratched off,” and Baesler continued, “She kept that card and gave the customer a new card.”

This is also why Baesler’s keeps their gift cards for sale by customer service and its registers.  That way, someone can keep an eye on them and would be thieves.

This is not the only gift card scam out there.  We’ve linked you to a site that has examples of various scams out there, as well as tips on how you can protect yourself.

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