National Use Your Gift Card Day is coming on Saturday, a day aimed at reminding consumers to check for any forgotten gift cards in their household, and put a stop to the loss of billions in unused gift cards each year.
Gift cards are big business, and recent projections point to steady annual growth, with profits in the US exceeding $238 billion by 2025. Unfortunately, cybercriminals and fraudsters have developed an entire industry focused on gift card peddling on underground forums and marketplaces.
They can masquerade as legitimate organizations or retailers to steal your gift card balance, or conduct account takeover attacks to drain your e-gift card and store credit. Gift cards can also be used to trick you into handing over personal and financial information via phishing emails or texts that claim you can increase your balance for free.
Their nefarious actions can also extend to the real world, where fraudsters tamper with physical gift cards on sale in various retail shops. While in the store, malicious actors can steal gift card numbers and PINs, then wait until the victim registers it or loads funds onto the card to use it for other illicit gains.
So before you go through your drawers, wallets or purses for any unused gift cards, take a look at our security tips to ensure a safe shopping experience:
- Closely inspect each gift card, making sure that protective stickers revealing the PIN have not been removed, or your card number has not been previously scratched off
- Change the security code or PIN for each gift card immediately after registering it on the retailer website
- To confirm or check your gift card balance, always go to the official retailer website by typing the URL into the browser’s search engine. Don’t follow links on forums, social media platforms or emails that tell you to check your gift card balance or register gift cards, unless you know they’re genuine
- Be wary of phishing emails that say you’ve won gift cards on Amazon or other retailers. Companies do not give out gift cards worth hundreds or thousands of dollars for free. They’re always a scam that can lead to you losing money, or worse, falling victim to identity theft.
Be cybersavvy on #UseYourGiftCardDay, and check out our extended 90-day Bitdefender Total Security trial for free. You can stop worrying about malicious attacks and fraud attempts that drain your bank account and ruin your day. You get complete protection for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android in one comprehensive package so you can safely indulge in some retail therapy no matter what device you’re using.