The holidays are a time for giving and sometimes, gift cards are the best choice, especially for those people you just don’t know what to get. A gift card is always an easy but appreciated choice. But there’s a gift card scam out there that you really need to be aware of, the next time you purchase one. RELATED: Don’t Fall For the Falling Lady Scam


Purchasing a gift card might seem pretty straightforward but former Canadian police officer Nichelle Laus accidentally stumbled upon a scam that she’s shedding light on to help protect all of us.

Check out her video below, detailing what happened and how she discovered that the gift card she was purchasing had been tampered with.

@nichellelaus Gift Card Scam. Please be aware and share with your friends and family. #HOLIDAYSHOPPING #GIFTCARDSCAM ♬ Stories 2 – Danilo Stankovic

As you can see in the video, Nichelle explains that she was purchasing a $100 PlayStation gift card. She looked at the back and could see that there was a fake barcode on the back of the card.

“So what happens is, the scammers take these empty cards home and they put their own barcode on top of here and you can almost feel it, or you can feel it.”

Nichelle shows a gift card that has not been tampered with and shows that you can feel that there’s no raised barcode on top. She then takes the scam gift card up to the cash register to show what happens when that gift card gets scanned.

RELATED: FBI Warns ‘Tis the Season For Holiday Scams – Here’s What You Need to Know

When the cashier scans the card, it shows up on her terminal as a $100 gift card for the LCBO (the video is shot in Canada and the LCBO is the Liquor Control Board of Ontario) instead of $100 for PlayStation.

Nichelle explains: “So to reiterate what happened, I grabbed a PlayStation card but it actually had an LCBO barcode on it. So, what the scammer has, at home somewhere, is that LCBO card and that card would have got loaded with the $100, had I paid for this card. I hope that makes sense. And what you need to do is make sure that the barcode is ok and of course you check that at the cash.”

This is an easy scam for consumers to fall for because I don’t know about you but I’ve never thought to feel the back of the gift card to see if the original barcode has been covered up. But you can bet I’ll be doing this every time from now on. Retailers might want to start putting gift cards at the cash like they do with lotto tickets to prevent them from being tampered with.

I hope this helps protect you as you shop this holiday season!

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