Everything was winding down from the busy holiday season. Shanice had received many gift cards from friends and family, but she noticed that some of them did not have the amounts written on the back, so she turned to the web to check the balance.
She typed "gift card balance checker" into the search engine and scrolled through the results. She ended up choosing a website that offered free gift card balance checks. After clicking on the link, she was taken to a legitimate-looking site.
She was prompted to enter the card number and security code. As she entered the information, Shanice had an uncomfortable feeling, so she decided to check some reviews on the website to make sure it was legit.
She soon found that the website had very few reviews. After scrolling through the results, she found some negative comments that said the website was a scam, and that by entering the card information, the scammer would have accessed the remaining gift card balance.
Did you spot the red flags?
- Even if it appears on a search result, unknown websites with free offers should be treated with caution.
- She did not check the back of the gift card to see if it provided any instructions on how to check the balance.
- Shanice should have checked the reviews first, before entering information on the website.
What you should know about this scam
Only use official websites to check gift card balances. The websites of the gift card brand often include ways to check the balance.
Research the website first. If there are no reviews or if there are signs of a scam, do not enter the website or enter any personal data.
According to consumer reports, $233 million was lost to gift card scams in 2021 and the scammers have certainly not slowed down this past year.