I got a random amazon gift card in the mail

By now you’re probably aware of the many fake gift card scams that are making the rounds on the Internet.

well now there is a semi-unplugged version that is affecting people all over the country here in the united states.

I used the term semi-online because that’s more or less what it is.

As usual, there are several variations of this scam, but most of them are perpetrated as follows:

The scammer rents a mailing list or builds their own list by pulling names and addresses from internet “people search” sites like whitepages.com.

then mails a genuine-but-fake-looking gift card to everyone on the list along with the url of a web page the recipient must visit to “activate” the card.

once a recipient visits that web page, they are presented with a form that they must complete to complete the activation.

Information requested on the form generally includes the person’s name, mailing address, date of birth, and social security number; In other words, everything the scammer needs to assume the victim’s identity and open fraudulent financial accounts in her name!

You would think that in today’s world simply requesting that kind of information to activate a gift card would raise such a red flag that only the most naive among us would fall for it, but sadly that’s not the case.

Unfortunately, numerous victims are taking the bait and happily providing all the information requested, all in exchange for the opportunity to use a gift card with a face value of as little as $50!

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The vast majority of legitimate gift cards require no more than entering the activation number printed on the back of the card on the store’s website to activate the card and claim the credit.

some others also ask for the person’s name and mailing address, but that’s information you’d normally have to provide anyway in the course of completing a purchase.

As I mentioned earlier, an online retailer should never need or ask for your date of birth and/or social security number unless you ask them to extend credit to you.

If you receive a gift card in the mail that you weren’t expecting, don’t visit the website listed in the instructions unless you’ve verified the legitimacy of the gift card with the company that supposedly sent it. .

You can easily check if an offer like this is legit or a scam simply by visiting the company’s website and contacting their customer service department via email, live chat, or phone.

And now, one last word of caution…

Even if the gift card turns out to be legitimate, think carefully before deciding to give up such sensitive personal information for what amounts to mere pittance.

just saying.

no legitimate business needs your date of birth and/or social security number just to activate a gift card.

Those pieces of information should never be needed unless you’re completing some type of credit application.

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Bottom line: If you get a gift card in the mail that you weren’t expecting, there’s a good chance it’s fake.

But even if it turns out to be real, you could easily end up giving them something (your personal information) that is much more valuable than the gift card amount itself.

as always, keep in mind the phrase “caveat emptor – buyer beware” in everything you do.

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