David Papp Blog

What to do with all of your holiday gift cards and avoid being scammed

Gifts cards are now very popular gift choices and have become a new form of currency. There are estimates of $130 billion worth of gift cards in 2015 (North America) of which easily $1 billion or more sit around and collect dust.


You can buy and sell gift cards on websites and apps. This would depend on your country. Some examples are www.CardSwap.ca, www.Swappable.com, www.CardMania.ca, www.GiftCardGranny.com

Depending on the service, you can get instant cash into your PayPal account for selling unwanted cards, you can track balances and scan your cards right into your phone, there are discounted (used) cards available, there are reduced prices to buy cards, and you can even get alerts when something of interest shows up. The Red Cross has worked things out so you can also donate unused gift cards to people in need such as Syrian refugees.


As we are dealing with money, there are always people who come up with new ways to scam others and commit fraud.

  • Some people record new gift card numbers in stores waiting for them to be activated. They do this by writing them down, taking a photo, scanning them, or swiping with card readers.
  • Others scratch off the pins and secret numbers and then replace them with new stickers you can easily buy off eBay.
  • There are many data breaches involving stolen databases or spreadsheets with gift card numbers.
  • And people tend to use the same username and password for all of their accounts. Automated processes allow hackers to test out many accounts at the same time on gift card websites to gain access to your accounts.


  • Only buy from reputable merchants
  • Look at the physical gift cards for signs of tampering
  • Keep your receipts
  • Change your online passwords on a regular basis
  • Don’t use the same password for different accounts

2 thoughts on “What to do with all of your holiday gift cards and avoid being scammed”

  1. Wow I did not know you could sell gift cards for PayPal cash. I have about 5 $25 Subway gift cards sitting around, and while I love Subway I’d much rather have $125 in my bank account, I can’t see myself buying that many subs in the near future.

    And that $130 billion figure doesn’t surprise me, almost everyone I know has a gift card from some family member that they have either lost, or have just not cared enough about to actually use. I’ve been guilty of this every Christmas, it has to add up.

  2. Thank you for those tips, I’m actually thinking about buying an Amazon giftcard online since I don’t have a credit card (only PayPal account) and I want to order something from there, it will be a kind of expensive giftcard so I will be extremely careful before buying it.
    Thanks for sharing, David! 🙂

Comments are closed.