We are entering the season when gift-giving is common, but it is also common for scammers to be very busy during this time as well. We are sometimes alerted to these possible scams which can be anything from skimmers at a gas station to a phone call that empties out Grandma’s bank account.
It seems as if there may possibly be another scam to be concerned about, and a TikTok user is blowing the whistle. Although it is not yet confirmed that it is true, it certainly is something to keep in mind.
Annie Doran posted a video on that social media platform, showing that fake barcodes are being placed on gift cards over the originals. Allegedly, when somebody goes to add money to the card, they are actually adding money to the scammer’s card.
She said: “Please check your gift cards I’ve seen these at a ton of big businesses. Scammers are planting these barcodes everywhere. Be careful!”
Hundreds of thousands of people have viewed the video since it was posted but it has since been removed.
In the clip, she also says that you should try to scratch off the decoy code to see if it exists.
Although that scam has not been confirmed, Adam Levin is a cyber security expert who is also warning people about gift card scams.
According to GoBankingRates, Levin said: “What happens is, scammers go into stores at weird hours when employees aren’t looking, they’ll take cards and scratch the back to get the authentication code, cover it up and put it back on the rack.”
In other words, you buy the gift and give the scammer your money but the person who receives the gift card gets nothing.
In any case, he recommends that you purchase a gift card closer to the counter or better yet, one that is behind the counter.SKM: below-content placeholder