In-Store Gift Card Scams Need More Investigation

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

According to the 2019 National Retail Federation’s “Holiday and Seasonal Retail Trends” report, for the 13th year in a row, gift cards remained the most popular items on wish lists. However, as Haley Rush reported for KPTV, in-store gift cards are increasingly becoming the target of scammers who are able to obtain security codes from the cards. Scammers tamper with the cards’ magnetic strips and may also use electronic devices to obtain codes, Rush reported for KPTV, the Fox News affiliate in Portland, Oregon.

Although consumers might think it’s safe to purchase gift cards in-store, scammers are managing to hack those cards’ security codes. “They can actually tamper with the card itself and then recover that so it looks like it’s never been tampered with, or there are some devices that can actually strip the number off the cards,” Stan Prager with GoGeeks told KPTV.

The vulnerability of gift cards to hacking has received intermittent coverage, including December 2019 reports by two Canadian sources, Global News and the CBC, as well as a December 2019 warning from Consumer Reports.

Source: Haley Rush, “Gift Card Scam Allows Crooks to Drain Money off Cards before You Can Use Them,” KPTV, Fox 12, Oregon, January 12, 2020,

Student Researcher: Brittany Boschman (First Nations University of Canada)

Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Elliot (First Nations University of Canada)