It’s that time of year! Lots of shopping and when no great gift comes to mind, you may, like me, default to gifting a gift card to that favorite person.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers great tips on making your gift card giving more joyous!
- Inspect gift cards before you buy. All the protective stickers should be in place and not scratched off or damaged.
- When you buy the gift card for that special someone, save the receipt just in case problems arise using the card.
- Treat gift cards like cash. If you lose them or if stolen, report to the card’s issuer immediately. You can find toll-free numbers online to report a lost or stolen card. Some companies may even give you some money back.
- Buy gift cards from sources you know and trust. Beware online auction sites where fake or stolen cards may be changing hands.
- Read the gift card’s terms and conditions. A few gift cards may still charge fees on each use. What’s up with that!
And most importantly, the FTC says to remember that gift cards are for gifts, not payments! Scammers often demand gift cards when pretending to be from the IRS, Social Security, law enforcement etc… Bottom line, never pay with a gift card.
The FTC has additional info on how to report gift card scams on the FTC.gov website. I hope this helps to keep your holidays merry.
Melinda Nelson, CPA