Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another Interesting Scam....


Watching the news this morning, I became intrigued at a totally new scam that quite frankly I had never heard of before, but seems very easy to commit; at the expense of the consumer.

I’m sure everyone reading has gone into a number of retail outlets and have seen Gift Cards that are placed on the fixturing at the end of cash stations and throughout aisles of the store.

They are quite useless to the common thief as they have to be purchased at the register where they are then processed electronically into that particular stores inventory system.

However, what I did not know is that thieves and fraud artists are peeling the card off, as they are usually attached to thin cardboard stock with little adhesive and viewing a series of numbers that are either on the back of the card or the cardboard itself. Once writing these numbers down they then put the card back onto the cardboard stock and replace it on the shelf.

The unsuspecting consumer then purchases the card and the thief knowing full well that it most likely will not be used until after Christmas Day then uses those numbers to activate the card online or over a phone. Once this is complete, they are then able to use the card to purchase items online and have them mailed to P.O. boxes or unoccupied homes.

This leaves the consumer with a totally useless card that has absolutely no value when they attempt to use it at a later date.

The news feature suggested several very small ways to ensure that you do not become a victim of this very easy to complete fraud.

● Buy Gift Cards only from the Customer Service desk or other areas of the store where they are kept in a secure place.

● Telephone the number on the back of the card once you are home and make sure that it has its full balance.

● Watch out for cards that seem to be improperly affixed to their cardboard backing, they may have already been taken off and placed back on.

● Keep the receipt.

Once again, I wish you and your family all the best for your Holiday Season.

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