SCHEMES & RIP OFFS: Gift Card Code Stealing - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

SCHEMES & RIP OFFS: Gift Card Code Stealing

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It's a danger targeting the most popular holiday gift, gift cards.  And it could let thieves steal presents while they sit under your tree.

New York Senator Charles Schumer is leading the latest charge against this rip off, asking the National Retail Federation and Retail Gift Card association to urge members to better conceal gift card codes.

Without good protection gift card fraudsters can go stores - where gift cards are just hanging on the shelves - and write down the access code that's supposed to be covered up.

The crooks then track the card online or on the phone by checking the balance, and once you buy it and activate it they can spend the money before you even know what happened.

Schumer says it would be easy for stores to provide better protection, but too many are a free buffet for scammers that can leave unsuspecting victims with a worthless piece of plastic by Christmas Day.

"We're asking retailers not to leave the gift cards out in a big basket, or on a rack.  But rather you go to the counter and buy one, so you can be sure that it's not ripped off," Schumer said at a recent news conference on the issue.

Experts say, whenever possible, buy gift cards that are kept behind the counter or register.

And no matter where you get it from; always carefully examine both the front and back of a gift card before you buy it.  If you can see a pin number or it looks like the card has been tampered with, put the card back and get a different one.

For more information on this and other common gift card rip off, check out our friends at ScamBusters.

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