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It’s Christmas Eve and you’ve run out of time to purchase a heartfelt holiday gift for your husband, wife, parent, child or maybe even your overly friendly neighbor Jim. It’s the obvious and most convenient last-minute option that comes to mind, and the most popular item on everyone’s wish list, – it’s the choice that never seems to disappoint around the holidays or any occasion. While gift cards are a “killer” option, they may potentially be a dangerous one – that’s of course if you get scammed. 

 Here’s What You Should Look Out For When Buying Gift Cards… 

Look closely. Scammers aren’t just hanging out online, they’re also lurking through your favorite stores, recording the registration number on gift cards along with their activation PIN. If you’re in a rush to pick up a gift card, make sure you check for tears, wrinkles or damages to the packaging – this is a serious red flag that it might have been tampered with. FYI, scammers go as far as putting stickers over the activation number, so when in doubt, the best thing for you to do is to take it to the cashier or service station to check before you buy it. 

Register the gift card. You can simply ask the store cashier/clerk to check if the brand of gift card will allow you to register it. This will add an additional layer of information that will connect the card to the recipient, making it harder to access if it was lost or stolen. 

Report a lost or stolen gift card. Like credit cards, you can make a call to report a lost gift card by contacting the customer support number of the card issuer. This way if someone else got their grimy hands on it and tried to use it, they won’t be able to. It’s also not a bad idea to keep an eye out on the card if you’re planning on mailing it to the recipient – so keep your tracking number and receipt handy. If you’re sending an electronic gift card, then be sure to password protect it. 

The last thing you’d want is an embarrassing and awkward phone call from your 3rd cousin Jill, screaming that the balance of her gift card is $0. So, save yourself the trouble by being extra cautious this holiday season. 

Another common occurrence that you should be aware of during the holidays, are phishing scams that target local businesses. Scammers are sending legitimate looking emails, to appear as if they came from a co-worker, boss or colleague asking if you could secretly buy things such as office gifts, and not to tell anyone else about it. You’ll also hear about telephone scams on the news. There was a recent story surrounding scammers pretending to be police officers, informing citizens that there’s been a warrant out for their arrest, and that they have to pay in cash or gift cards. How bizarre is that? Sadly, this can happen to anyone if they’re not careful enough this holiday season. Let’s hope it’s not you. 

 If you suspect that your business may be at risk or exposed to phishing attacks, then give us a call at 905-763-7896 or email sales@pacetechnical.com to get the best IT Security solution for you.  

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