Can a Gift Card Be Traced?
There is nothing faster and easier than making purchases using a gift card. Especially during a pandemic. Few people want to touch paper money or coins.
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In addition, a gift card is convenient. On one plastic card there is a certain amount of money that can be easily spent both in the offline world and online.
But what is the difference between a credit card and a gift card? Can a gift card be traced like a credit card? Unfortunately, gift cards are not linked to a specific person, their movement is difficult to track, and they are easy to convert, resell, or exchange. Moreover, the way they work is very similar to the ordinary credit cards that each of us uses on a daily basis. Therefore, it is not surprising that so many scammers have appeared around this type of payment. However, in the case of gift cards, these episodes of theft are not well-known in society.
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But can a stolen gift card be traced? How does theft happen, and what should you do to prevent it and save your money? These are some of the questions that we will answer today.
Gift card theft
Today, there are too many ways to steal money from gift cards. And most importantly, they all work and leave almost no traces. Therefore, it is quite difficult to find and punish fraudsters.
Several reasons attract fraudsters to gift card theft:
- Probability of punishment is low.
- Quick way to earn money.
- Low level of required knowledge.
You don’t need to be a genius or a super hacker to commit this kind of theft. There are several working schemes and programs that literally do everything necessary for scammers. Usually, there are three categories of fraud in the case of gift cards:
Criminals can easily hack into a gift card account and successfully transfer all the money within a few minutes.
The working principle:
Fraudster gets the user’s name and password using credentials that were obtained using malware.
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THEFT OF CARD NUMBERS AND CLONING OF CARDS
The next efficient way to steal funds is to copy the number of the card. A gift card doesn’t differ from an ordinary credit card. It also has a number of a magnetic stripe. It can be necessary to add a PIN if you want to buy something in a store. The second method is just swipe the card.
The working principle:
Usually, a gift card can’t work without activation at checkout. In some stores, these cards are in a prominent place. Therefore, a fraudster may take several cards, record their numbers or read the magnetic stripe using a special program, and then bring the card back to the store to be purchased by an unsuspecting customer.
Then, in online mode, the criminal can monitor the activity of the gift card, and as soon as it is activated, they steal everything from its account.
PURCHASE OF CARDS IN BULK
The fastest and easiest way to steal gift cards is to purchase numbers in bulk from special sellers.
This type of theft is done using methods such as phishing, SQL injection, social engineering, and random disclosure.
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Can a gift card be traced?
The most frequently asked question is: “Can stolen gift card be traced?”
Now, we’ll try to answer. The only way a gift card can be tracked is through receipts for purchases. However, there are few stores or online stores that require entering personal data. Therefore, most often fraudsters successfully manage to convert another person’s gift card into real money, or resell it later.
Due to the complexity of tracking such fraud, all merchants of such cards, and customers who purchase them, must be as careful as possible.
How to prevent a gift card theft
We have prepared some tips on how to prevent gift card theft. Below you can find instructions for both card merchants and customers who purchase them.
TIPS FOR RETAILERS
First, you need to ensure maximum security in the store where such cards are sold. You need to pay attention to the storage location of such cards. It is best to keep cards in closed cabinets, special compartments behind the counters, or any other remote places out of public view.
Next, you need to provide a reliable centralized management system for gift cards. Each card must have a pin code to enter, and mandatory authorization.
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Then, you need to store the cards themselves and the pin codes separately. In addition, you need to limit the number of times the card’s balance can be checked online to no more than two times per hour.
TIPS FOR CLIENTS
Everyone who wants to buy gift cards should only buy them from trusted sellers. In addition, when you purchase a card, you must check it for chipping, fading or other signs of possible alteration. Also, do not throw away the receipt from the card purchase. After all, if its balance is empty, you can contact the seller and request a replacement.
The main advantage of gift cards is their flexibility and convenience. They are impersonal, in most cases. However, this is why scammers are increasingly attacking gift cards, which are difficult to track.
Therefore, it is important to follow the necessary security measures for both sellers and users of gift cards.You can read our Guide on Ways to Protect Your Data Online.