Gift cards are a convenient way to give your friends and loved ones “just the right thing” at holiday time. They also give thieves an opportunity to make off with your money, according to a public service announcement issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
How can you protect yourself from gift card scams? Here are pointers.
• Buy directly from reputable stores. If you’re getting a restaurant gift card, stop by the restaurant in person or visit their web site. That goes for airlines and big box stores too.
• Check reviews of sellers of gift cards in online auctions. There’s a reason someone’s selling the card at a discounted price – it may be stolen or counterfeit. Are you willing to take the risk?
• Examine the card. Before purchasing a gift card, inspect the front and back for tampering. Some cards have PIN codes that must be exposed before use. Make sure the PIN is still hidden.
• Register the card. Some issuers let you register the card at the store’s web site. By registering, you’ll be able to check your balance on a regular basis and identify any misuse.
Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in the McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates specializes known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws, we help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.