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Gift Cards: Buying & registering them

To avoid scammers, buy the gift cards directly from the store or go to the bank.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — There you are, standing in front of a whole display of gift cards. Which one is the right one? How much should you spend?

Those are the questions you're concerned with, not did a scammer take a picture of the codes on the back? Yet, it happens. Yes, there are people who take pictures of the numbers on the cards, scratch off the stickers for the codes and then put other stickers on top. 

“That scammer can find out there is money on that card and drain it, by the time you go out to the car in the parking lot the money has been drained out of the card,” said David Kirkman of AARP NC.

So, how do you stop that from happening?

#1 Buy directly from the store or restaurant.

#2 When you buy from a stand, look at the card carefully to make sure none of the codes have been scratched off.

#3 Buy a generic VISA gift card from your bank. Most banks and credit unions have VISA gift cards and you get them from one of the branches.

For everyone who gets a gift card this holiday:

Register your gift card. Really. Take the time to do it as soon as you get it. David Kirkman’s story is a lesson for us all.

“Someone in Egypt drained it all, but because I registered it I called the company and told them I didn't make the purchases, I didn't go to Egypt, and so they put the money back on my card,” said Kirkman.


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