According to NRF research, gift card spending is expected to reach $24.8 billion this year and gift cards remain the most requested holiday gift. But browse the internet and you may find a website selling your company’s gift card with unbelievable discounts that even Santa would balk at. How is this possible?
Well, some websites do offer consumers the ability to exchange or swap their gift card, while others pay a percentage back in cash or online credit (some even offer Facebook credits for FarmVille). In turn, they sell the cards online with a markup to consumers looking for a good deal.
And there are legitimate resale sites and many retailers run promotions.
However, talk to any loss prevention cyber investigator and you will hear stories about stolen credit cards used to buy gift cards, fraudulent refund schemes as the result of organized retail crime cases and counterfeit cards, all sold or traded online for a profit.
Criminals target gift cards for many reasons. Many fraudsters purchase gift cards to quickly consume the available credit from stolen credit cards or launder merchandise credits. A fraudulent or counterfeit gift card is far less suspicious than a trunk full of stolen Levis. There are dozens of examples to choose from.
Last week in Orland Park, Ill., police arrested two women for the possession of stolen credit cards and dozens of fraudulently obtained gift cards. Some of the gift cards had been re-encoded for higher amounts, police said.
Earlier this week in Montgomery County, Md., police announced they are searching for two women stealing teacher’s wallets. They are linked to four cases and credit cards have been used to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and merchandise such as electronics, clothing and food in Washington, D.C.
Would I buy a discounted gift card online from a third party? Maybe, but it would certainly be on my ‘check it twice’ list.