• August 3, 2020

BBB: Gift card scams - Odessa American: Business

e-Edition Subscribe

BBB: Gift card scams

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2019 5:00 am

Gift cards are a popular purchase during the holidays. They’re convenient and easy for gift givers and allow gift receivers to pick the perfect items from their favorite stores. However, scammers love gift cards just as much as shoppers do. Gift cards act a lot like cash: they can be used anonymously and are extremely difficult to reverse once used.

Scammers can find a multitude of excuses and stories to get you to send them money via gift card. But the common theme is that they need you to send them money urgently. Once they’ve convinced you to purchase the gift card, they need the gift card number and PIN. Those numbers give the scammer immediate access to the money that’s been loaded onto the card. Then, they disappear.

Use these tips from your Better Business Bureau when purchasing gift cards to avoid scams:

Buy from trustworthy sources. Avoid purchasing gift cards from second-hand sources, like online marketplaces, because they could be counterfeit or stolen.

Inspect the card before buying. Check that none of the protective stickers have been removed or scratched off, and that the PIN is not exposed. Report any damaged gift cards you find to the store selling it.

Keep the receipt with the gift card. Whether you’re giving or receiving the gift card, try to keep the original receipt with the card. If you don’t have the receipt, take note of the card’s ID number and make sure you know where to find it in the future.

Read the terms and conditions. Look for an expiration date and activation fees. Will the card stop working if it goes unused for a certain amount of time?

Use the card as soon as possible. Using gift cards early will help you avoid losing them or having the money stolen remotely by someone who might have gotten ahold of the gift card number and PIN.

Treat gift cards like cash. If your card is lost or stolen, you can report it to the gift card’s issuer. You might not get back the money that was left on the card, or they may give you back part of it. Look on the card or the issuer’s official website for their customer service number.

For more tips on avoiding gift card scams, visit us at bbb.org.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Humidity: 36%
Winds: ESE at 8mph
Feels Like: 87°

Your Extended Forecast


High 94°/Low 71°
Clear. Lows overnight in the low 70s.


High 102°/Low 76°
Plenty of sun. Highs 100 to 104F and lows in the mid 70s.


High 104°/Low 75°
More sun than clouds. Highs 102 to 106F and lows in the mid 70s.
Online Features

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.