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Scam alert: Why police say you need to check gift cards before you pay for them

Posted at 6:17 AM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 09:46:24-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Authorities are issuing a scam warning as you finish up your holiday shopping.

The Boca Raton Police Department says scammers are targeting gift cards that you haven't even paid for yet.

"Scammers are printing out their own bar codes and placing them over the actual gift card bar code at local retailers," the department said.

When the gift cards are activated, the money goes to the scammer's card instead of the card you just bought.

Police say a retail employee recently found a fake bar code during a routine check.

They offer this advice:

  • Closely examine the back of the gift card before you buy it
  • Check for signs of tampering, such as bar code stickers
  • Make sure the gift card’s bar code number, visible through the window on the back of the gift card’s packaging, matches the number on the packaging itself
  • Pick a gift card from the middle or back of the rack

This story was originally published by staff at WFTS.