Shoplifters Of The World Use Gift Cards

Forget that gift cards generally make lousy presents, another reason why they’re an all-around bad idea: they’re becoming popular vehicles of crime. The New York Times reports that more and more, retail employees are committing theft by manipulating stores’ gift cards. When you think about it, these electronic devices are far more clever than filling one’s pockets up with cash or goods, as it’s essentially hidden money. Joshua Bamfield, author of the Global Retail Theft Barometer, tells the Times, “To employees, this is like currency. It’s almost as good as the U.S. dollar.”

So what should you be looking out for? One popular tactic is for a clerk to distract you while they hand you a zero-value card and take your money themselves. Ask them to verify the value in front of you, or come back and ask a different employee to check the balance. Thank you for reading this very important PSA. [New York Times]

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