CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When you have a list of loved ones, helpers, teachers, or people you want to thank, a great option for those special people is for you to buy them a gift card. However, if you are shopping around to get a rock bottom deal on gift cards, you my want to make sure you don't end up with a bad deal.
The Internet is a great place to do get fabulous deals and you can buy based on your schedule but there are some pitfalls. Earlier this year, 40,000 people were tricked a bogus gift card scam offering a free $1000 Ikea gift card.
WBTV's Cyber Expert, Theresa Payton says its easy to spot and avoid these scams.
People are getting ripped off and there are 2 losers: the person buying the card and the person getting a bogus gift card.
How to spot a scam:
- Rock bottom or free gift cards
- Limited time offer
- You have to give out a lot of personal information to get the deal
Behind the Internet Gift Card Scams:
- Some gift cards were purchased using a stolen credit card and then sold online
- Some gift cards sold online are counterfeit, stolen, or have less value than advertised
- The free gift card never arrives but while you were clicking on links, something else did, malicious software on your computer
What the Scam Might Do:
- Some take you to bogus sites that download malicious software onto your computer so they can steal your information
- Some scams ask you to type in your personal information to get the deal
- Other scams entice you to type in your gift card number to check or increase your balance so they can steal that information and use it later
How To Avoid Being A Victim:
- Only purchase gift cards from reputable stores
- If you buy through an online source, make sure you can check their rating from other buyers
- If the deal seems, to good to be true, check with the Better Business Bureau first
- Teach your kids NEVER click on links disguised as a gift card and not to give out personal information online
If you believe you are a victim of buying bogus gift cards through an internet scam, please contact:
The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center: http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx
The Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/
Samples of Fakes:
All Facebook shows a bogus Whole Foods card at: http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-scam-alert-500-whole-foods-card-is-fake-2010-04
Fake offer for a free $1,000 WalMart Gift card:
There are many great sources of information to help you avoid internet scams, we have highlighted a few of them here:
Better Business Bureau tracks complaints of scams: http://easternnc.bbb.org/bbb-news/
Scam busters: www.scambusters.org