FBI issues consumer warning about purchasing holiday gift cards

Planning on giving, or getting a gift card for the holidays? Experts say be careful or consumers could get scammed. Thieves are getting creative in trying to steal the cash right off the card.

"You hope that some of these shops like Target, like Apple, might have a protection like your credit card," shopper Chris Egan said.

Egan and his girlfriend, Jessica Grossi, don't buy gift cards at all.

"Kind of like the high-tech society we live in, you have to be wary of everything," remarked Egan, who also says when in doubt about last minute gift giving, one solid rule applies.

"Cash. Cash is king," he said.


FOX 29 contacted Target about its high number of claims and reported class action lawsuits against them involving gift card scams. They say, "Target takes these crimes extremely seriously and we use a multi-layered, comprehensive approach to mitigate fraud that includes technology, team member training and collaboration with law enforcement."

"We also work with a number of outside partners like the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance, which brings more than 70 retailers together to track, prevent and address these types of crimes. We’ve increased in-store signage to warn our guests of common gift card scams, and we’ve heightened team member education so they can keep an eye out for potentially distressed guests buying gift cards and intervene as needed. We also continue to implement new technology to prevent gift cards from being abused by fraudsters."

Additional resources for consumers can be found at these locations:

  • Target provides tips from the corporate site for guests to avoid fraud.
  • Target's Security Hub has detailed information about preventing gift card scams. If guests shop for a gift card, they’ll find a link there to this information.



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