Gift Cards On Reseller Sites Could Be “Stolen” Money

giftcardsA recent article on Krebsonsecurity.com has pointed out from a tip from a reader that the gift cards sold on sites like giftcardgranny.com are often obtained by stealing merchandise from one store and returning it to another, and collecting the “refund” in the form of a gift card.

Most of us know that if we lose our receipt or return a gift we sometimes can’t get paid back in cash.  However many big chains will strike a compromise and offer to give a refund in the form of a gift card.

However, thieves are taking advantage of this by stealing merchandise and returning it sans receipt, getting the gift card refund, and then selling that gift card on a gift card resale website.  It’s quite a clever little scheme but it’s really hurting the stores.  Those who want to be ethical should be on the lookout for cards in “odd” amounts.  Most of the time when people return merchandise they receive a card with a strange dollar amount, such as 78.57.  However when one buys a gift card for someone they usually do so in increments such as $25, $50, $75.  Any even number such as $40 is also probably kosher as well.

I myself probably won’t not use card resale sites.  After all, you can’t read minds and know which cards are fraud and which aren’t.  The companies themselves are taking the risk and the inherent loss by offering gift cards in the first place.  Should the company decide it doesn’t want to deal with fraud such as this they can stop offering gift cards.

Either way I still suggest that you look for those cards in even type amounts.  It’s still a good way to save money overall, especially if you know you use a certain merchant all the time.