FBI officials in Georgia warn of holiday gift card scams

www.wrdw.com, Brittany Ford, November 24, 2023

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Holiday scammers are poised and ready to take your money.

FBI Atlanta is warning of an alarming trend putting people out of hundreds of dollars.

“This is a significant amount of money that we’re talking about,” said Jenna Sellitto, public affairs specialist at FBI Atlanta.

Gift cards are a popular, easy holiday gift, and Sellitto says criminals are capitalizing on them.

“They leave the store with them, take off the foil, and get the numbers on the back,” Sellitto said. “They input those number into a database. Then they bring the gift cards back.”

The agency says when you put money on the card, the thieves are alerted, and the entire balance is wiped.

Sellitto says this is what you need to look out for: “When you’re looking at gift cards, check them, check them for physical tampering, if it looks like part of it has been scratched off or it’s not on there all the way.”

Federal investigators say online scams also ramp up during the holidays.

They say it’s important to verify shopping sites to ensure they are legit.

“It’s also extremely important to be vigilant about where you’re putting your information in,” Sellitto said.

The agency says consumers are losing millions of dollars to online scammers.

FBI Atlanta says losses from internet crime fraud was $73 million in 2022.

They encourage reporting fraud to your bank, local authorities and the FBI’s Internet Crime Compliant Center.

News article: https://www.wrdw.com/2023/11/24/fbi-officials-georgia-warn-holiday-gift-card-scams/