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Gift card scams are on the rise: Here’s what to remember this Christmas

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Upstate New York is alerting last-minute holiday shoppers to a significant increase in gift card scams, up by 50% compared to last year.

Gift cards, popular for their convenience and flexibility, are now a prime target for scammers. To avoid falling victim, the BBB advises shoppers to meticulously check the gift cards before purchase, ensuring the packaging is intact and the barcode is not tampered with.


Katarina Schmieder, the communications director at the BBB of Upstate New York, emphasizes the importance of verifying that the barcode on the gift card isn’t a sticker, a common scam technique where fraudsters replace the original barcode with their own. This switch allows them to divert the loaded funds to their account.

Schmieder also highlights that scammers often demand gift cards as a form of payment in various scams, including the grandparent scam. She advises consumers to complete any remaining holiday shopping with credit cards, as most companies offer protection against scams and fraud. For reporting scams and staying informed about local scams, the BBB provides resources on their website.



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