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.
APPS AND WEBSITES
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.
SCAMS AND FRAUD
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