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Consumer Advocate: Watch Out For Gift Card Scams


Gift cards are a popular holiday offering, but scammers also use this popularity to try to bilk the public.

The state Division of Consumer Protection's Michelle Reinen says be cautious if you get a phone call offering a great deal... 

"We see this year round when scam artists are demanding payment by gift card. The holiday season is when gift cards become pretty important because they are for giving, but we don't want consumers to fall for some of the gimmicks that scam artists will use to obtain your personal information through offering free gift cards..."

Reinen says the con artist contacts you saying you will get a free gift card if you fill out a survey. The cards often are for up to $500. She says that information is your personal information so it's not something for nothing...

"We've seen consumers not even get that gift card. We don't want anyone to hand out their personal information where they will be targeted for scams, ptentially identity theft down the road and then they don't even get that gift card...."

She says on occasion a participant will get a card, but when they try to redeem it it has little value.

Michelle Reinen says buy gift cards from known reputable businesses.

More information is at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection website where they also have contact numbers.