Gift Card Swindles
The gift that keeps on taking
Shops and customers
Someone offers you a £50 gift card for £25, what a deal, and what could possibly go wrong.
Large retail stores often have gift cards. These cards are printed with a serial number and a magnetic strip on the card. The Store has a database that matches the serial number to a monetary value. These cards can usually be used in any of the stores branches or online. The cards only work when they are scanned at the till and loaded with money. So if a card was stollen it is actually useless. This doesn't stop a con-man from making money off of them.
Gift card scams come in two types: Sell Scams & Buy Scams.
A Sell scam would be if the Con-man stole some blank cards and sold them as if they were loaded with money, for a discount of course.
A Buy scam would be if the Con-man memorised the serial number of a blank card. Then phoned the shop a week later asking how much money was on the card, if it was loaded with money, the con-man could use the serial number as a legitimate gift card online.
£20 - £100
How to avoid being scammed
People rarely want to lose money, so why would someone offer you a £50 gift card for £25? Only if they are scamming you.
As for buy scams, they are much rarer, cards mostly just use magnetic strips or are hidden behind a scratch strip. But just keeping the cards out of general reach works too.