EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The FBI is warning consumers about scams involving gift cards.
Scammers place fake barcodes on the back of real gift card barcodes in the stores, according to the FBI. When you purchase the card, the cashier scans the fake barcode at the checkout, which quietly pushes your money into the scammer’s gift card account, leaving you with a zero balance, the FBI says.
Protect yourself by examining the back of the gift card before buying it. Check for signs of
tampering. Make sure the gift card’s barcode number, which is visible through the window on
the back of the gift card’s packaging, matches the number on the packaging itself. Don’t
purchase if the barcode is on a sticker, or if the package is ripped, wrinkled, bent or looks
Don’t pull off the first gift card from the rack. Try to get one in the middle or the back. Even
then, there’s no guarantee that it hasn’t been tampered with so make sure you’re closely
inspecting all gift cards.
Pay attention to what’s displayed when it’s scanned at checkout to make sure it matches.
If you have been victimized by an online crime, make a report to the FBI. You can file an online
report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call the FBI El Paso
Field Office at (915) 832-5000
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