AARP issues gift card warning

Published 8:59 am Thursday, December 15, 2022

When you’re out shopping for a last-minute Christmas gift this week, take precautions, especially if it involves a gift card. While these gifts are easy to give and popular to get, they are also open to fraud. A 2022 AARP survey found that one in four people receive a gift card with no funds on it.

Your best bet may be to buy gift cards online directly from the issuer. Cards on store racks are easy prey for criminals, who can grab the cards, secretly record the numbers off the back and return the cards to the rack. That said, criminals are now using “bots” online to find activated gift cards with balances and stealing them that way. When you get a gift card, check the balance and take a picture of it, register it if you can, and use it sooner than later.

And AARP officials offer one more reminder. If anyone asks you to pay a debt or obligation with a gift card, it’s a scam.