Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Scammers plan to clear out your gift card balance


After the "season of giving" some of us can find ourselves
with a surplus of gift cards from stores where we can't or
don't want to shop.

The Internet provides the answer. Why not sell them -- usually
at a discount -- to someone who can use them?

Looks like a win-win situation -- until you encounter the gift
card scam artists.

Here's how they work: You offer your card on an auction or
classified ad site. A "buyer" asks for an electronic snapshot
of your balance as proof of its value.

They direct you to a bogus site, usually in the format of "My"
followed by the store name, followed by "" (e.g.
""), where they say you can get this

As soon as you key your card details in, the scammer has them
and will use or transfer the balance as quick as a flash.
That's it. You won't get your money back.

So, if you do have gift cards from Christmas -- or any other
time -- to sell, we recommend you use one of the sites
specially set up for these transactions (do a Google search
for "gift card exchange" -- but, remember, always double check
the credentials of any company you deal with). And recognize
even the legit exchanges often charge a hefty fee.

Or you could just "regift" them.

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