How Can I Avoid Gift Card Scams?

When you’re browsing around Craigslist and are looking for giftcards that other people don’t want, you’re probably thinking to yourself:

What steps can I take to avoid being scammed?


Most people initially think of meeting up with the person and then calling the number on the back of the card to check the balance.

That’s probably the most common thinking one can think of.

However, scammers these days are smarter than that.

There is indeed a way to use the balance before selling it off to another person.

The seller might make a transaction online just minutes before meeting up with you, and when you meet up and check the balance via telephone, the automated machine will read the balance before the transaction.

Most people would be satisfied with this and proceed on with the deal.

However, you should be wiser than that.


Firstly, when you meet up with the seller, always try to meet up at the place where the gift card is usable.

There, you should ask him to get you the item you want (at the same price lsited on the gift card), and pay him afterwards.

Even if you want to, you can still return the item later for store credit.

This way, you have something that’s more tangible than just a card in your hands.

If this method doesn’t click with you, then simply check the back of the card.

If the pin is scratched off, then don’t buy because there is a greater chance that the card has already been used.

However, even if the pin hasn’t been scratched off yet, there are ways to use it.

In addition, to avoid scammers, make sure you keep your eyes on the gift card at all times, because some people will try to switch the cards when you’re not looking.

Lastly, if your intuition tells you that there’s something sketchy about the seller, then don’t buy the gift card.

Some of the warning signs you may see are that he will call you from a private number, only call you on your number, but won’t give you his, or that he will want to meet with you at random places.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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