POSTED: Saturday, December 6, 2008 - 6:41pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 12:00pm
Buyers beware! It looks like there's a couple of grinches that have found yet another way to try and steal Christmas.
Gift cards are popular this time of year. So popular that recent consumer reports show 60 percent of shoppers are planning to buy these simple and easy gifts this year.
But if you buy gift cards from a display rack, you may fall into a trap. For crooks stealing the money off of these cards is easy. All the crooks have to do is copy the card number on the not-yet activated gift cards. Then when shoppers purchase and activate the cards, the crooks pounce. These scammers simple call an 800 number and key in different card numbers to see which ones have been activated. Most of the time the person doesn't use these cards right away. It could be days or even weeks before they realize their gift money is long gone.
But there are some things you can do to make sure your Christmas stays merry. Instead of buying cards straight from the rack, ask a store clerk for gift cards stored behind the counter. Also look to see if the package has been ripped or if the coating covering the personal identification number on the back of the card has already been scratched off.
This holiday season if you buy or receive a gift card that doesn't have the full pre-paid balance on it, immediately notify the card issuer. And if you’re even thinking about taking part in this scam, stealing is considered a serious crime in Texas.