Beware Buying Gift Cards From Online Auction Sites

Do you have a retail gift card you don’t want? Maybe there are no stores near you, or the amount won’t cover any of the store’s merchandise, or you just don’t shop there.

If you’re a frequent visitor to eBay and other online auction sites, you’ve probably seen an increase in gift cards for sale. Before you throw one of these enticing discounted cards into your “shopping cart,” realize it could be part of a cyberscam, according to USA Today.

Security experts are calling it cyber money laundering, or e-fencing—yet another way thieves are converting stolen data into cash.

Here’s how it works: A thief steals someone’s credit card number and purchases a gift card online. The thief then turns around and sells it to the highest bidder on an online auction or for a discount at a so-called gift card exchange Web site.

Though it’s tempting to take advantage of this so-called bargain, your best bet, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is to purchase gift cards from sources you know and trust, and to avoid buying cards from online auction sites.

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