Take Precautions to Avoid Gift Card Fraud

Gift cards are a convenient way to give your friends and loved ones “just the right thing” at holiday time. They also give thieves an opportunity to make off with your money, according to a public service announcement issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

How can you protect yourself from gift card scams? Here are pointers.

  • Buy directly from reputable stores. If you’re getting a restaurant gift card, stop by the restaurant in person or visit their web site. That goes for airlines and big box stores too.
  • Check reviews of sellers of gift cards in online auctions. There’s a reason someone’s selling the card at a discounted price – it may be stolen or counterfeit. Are you willing to take the risk?
  • Examine the card. Before purchasing a gift card, inspect the front and back for tampering. Some cards have PIN codes that must be exposed before use. Make sure the PIN is still hidden.
  • Register the card. Some issuers let you register the card at the store’s web site. By registering, you’ll be able to check your balance on a regular basis and identify any misuse.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today's small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it. Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission. Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations. She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.
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