I LOVE to get gift cards.  While some people say, the giver didn't put any thought into the gift, I disagree.  They thought, I don't want to get her something she isn't going to use, like or have to waste time to return, so I'll get a gift card and she can get EXACTLY what she wants.  That to me, is the "perfect" gift.  But, recently the Duluth Police Department has issued a warning about gift cards.

Technically, when someone uses a fraudulent gift card, it's considered a retail theft.  The Duluth Police Department The suspects are taking inactivated gift cards and transposing legitimate (stolen) credit/debit card data onto the magnetic strips on the back of the cards. I just don't have a criminal mind, I would never have thought to do that!

The majority of the gift cards are “Vanilla” brand and “Green Dot” gift cards of which we don't have a lot of in the Northland, however, if they can do it with those cards, it can be done with most any cards so we need to keep our guard up.

The line of defense is the customer service at the check outs.  The Duluth Police Department is asking those employees to be extra vigilant with their screening of gift cards. They need to be certain to verify that the account number and/or name on the card match the account number and/or name listed on the receipt, or transaction screen.

Also, they pointed out that merchants should be cautious of people who buy numerous items and ask to separate the sales and use different cards for each sale. Asking for an ID and documenting the ID number on the store’s receipt would help put a stop to the illegal activity.

If it's determined that a gift card transaction appears to be fraudulent, the DPD suggests you keep the card and call 911.

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