Wilmington – Attorney General Beau Biden advised consumers today to be on the lookout for gift cards scams during the holiday shopping season.
“Gift cards have become popular holiday gifts,” said Biden, noting that the National Retail Federation estimates that 81.1 percent of consumers will buy at least one gift card this holiday season, “but they have also become tempting targets for criminals wanting to defraud consumers.”
According to Biden’s Consumer Protection Unit and the Better Business Bureau, consumers should take the following steps when purchasing gift cards:
• Get gift cards from stores and businesses you know and trust, avoid cards from online auction sites because the card could be fraudulent or already used;
• Check to see if the card has an expiration date.
• Read the fine print to determine whether any fees are associated with purchasing the card and whether fees will be deducted from the card when it is redeemed.
• Inspect the card if you are buying it in person to ensure that all of the protective stickers are still in place and that the PIN number on the back of the card is not visible.
• When giving the card, include the original receipt so the card can be replaced if lost or stolen.
Biden also warned Delawareans to be aware of a text-messaging scam involving gift cards. Fake text messages are sent to individuals claiming that the recipient has won a free gift card from well-known national store. In reality, the message is just an attempt to obtain personal information. The message also contains a link that shoppers are directed to follow. When the recipients click on the link, they are asked for information such as their email address and phone number, and for answers to personal questions about their health and other matters, such as whether want to further their education.
Shoppers who think they may have been the victim of a gift card scam or who have received a text message claiming that they have won a free gift card should alert Biden’s Consumer Protection Unit by calling 800-220-5424 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.