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  • Holly Glowaty

Gift Card Scams 101: What Can Retailers Do?

Welcome to our third and final installment of gift card scams 101.


You can read the first post here, and our second post here to understand why we are covering this topic now.


Today we want to cover what retailers can do to help protect consumers. This topic in particular, is tricky. Retailers often find out about these scams as they are coming out in the news, or when a customer shares their experience.



Fraudsters are creative and come up with new scams all the time. The phone/ email/text scams we discussed in the first post are merely a fraction of the fraud we see- and happen to be the most reported version of fraud right now.


So what can retailers do? 


One of the best examples I saw was from Best Buy, Target and Walmart during the holiday season last year. Kristen Thiry referenced this in our Bloom Digital Summit last week, and I think she laid it out beautifully. You can click the image for the full story from pymnts.com:



Another step some retailers are taking, is super simple and VERY effective. Simply post a sign near your gift card mall, or gift card section. One example I saw on Twitter was the following:



Simple warnings right where the consumer is most vulnerable can be very effective. I would also add a warning along these lines:


“Gift cards are NEVER accepted to pay for bail. If you were contacted by a religious organization for gift card donations, please call a number you can find on their website or in the phone book to confirm there is a gift card collection. NEVER send a serial number and pin via text or email.”


Also, it was mentioned in the first story but I think it is worth restating: prepare your clerks if you do have a 3rd party gift card mall/rack in your store. Help them understand what is going on, so they can help protect consumers. I was speaking with my bank rep a week ago in Chicago, and she told me that a Target associate stopped someone from buying $500 in gift cards by simply asking, “What is the occasion?”


These are all simple steps, and I would start with the signs and simply educating your staff. If you can take the measures to limit transaction/load thresholds like Target, Best Buy and Walmart- that is even better.


But simply being there for your customers may be the most effective step you can take! 

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