How Secure Are Your Gift Cards, Really?

The Surprising Truth About Gifting Scams, and What You Can Do About It

But why? Knowing someone’s thinking of you is one of the best feelings in the world, but seeing that realization hit your friend or loved one when they open your gift… well, that’s even more satisfying. Whether it’s your mom’s favorite coffee beans, or your niece’s next pair of “fire” jeans, gifting brings all the feels. 🥰

But these days, gift cards and e-gift cards are becoming more popular and may even surpass physical gifts, especially in the current climate. More than 59% of people surveyed put them down as #1 on their wish list. That’s no surprise considering how easy they are to use and how much control they give people to choose exactly what they want. But givers are liking them more, too—gift card sales (both plastic and digital) rise every single year.  

What most people don’t think about is how secure gift cards are. Of course, a gift-in-hand is the most secure path, but what if you do want to give your friend or loved one the power to browse, choose, and experience? Growing up, most of us have gotten cash in a birthday card at least once, but gift cards and their digital cousins are way more secure.

Cash can be lost or stolen, especially when you’re sending them through the mail. Unlike cash, retailers have record of each individual gift card sold, just like a credit card, and may be able to deactivate the missing card and issue you a new one (emphasis on may, more on that later). Digital or e-gift cards are even better because they live online, so it’s pretty hard to lose them. Unless you accidentally delete your entire inbox. Which could happen, but probably not.

Even so, there are drawbacks to physical and e-gift cards. The truth is, gift cards can still be stolen, just like cash, and not every retailer will replace your money, especially if you don’t have the receipt for proof of purchase. Really, who keeps those? E-gift cards are better, but if you happen to print one out and drop the paper… you’re out of luck. And we all know by now that hackers hit up major retailers all the time and our emails and passwords end up on the dark web, so even email can be compromised. 

Even worse are the gift card scams, that you might not even be aware of. In 2019, over $74 million was lost to gift card and re-load card scams (and those are just the ones that were reported). Scammers call people up—especially targeting the elderly—pretending to be the IRS or tech support requiring payment, and oh sure, it’s totally fine to pay with gift cards. Cards can even be cloned at the store before they’re sold, and drained of funds once you, a legitimate customer, activate them. Worse yet, prepaid gift cards have become a common payment method in human trafficking rings.

And let’s be honest, it’s not only criminals causing us to lose out… it’s ourselves, too. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to gift cards. At some point in time, you’ve probably put a gift card in a drawer thinking you’ll get it out later when you need it. Only to completely forget it’s there. When you rediscover it with delight three years later, it’s expired. What a waste. Even those little bits of balances that you never use, because you just want to get rid of the card, add up over time.

But now, giftya is making physical cards and even emails unnecessary. You send the gift through text, which is a much more secure delivery method than snail mail or even email. Then the recipient can tie the gift to their Visa or Mastercard. So there’s no card or email or barcode to lose. You can protect your friend or loved one from being robbed and keep criminals from profiting. (You’re basically a super hero that way.) And since a giftya ties directly to your card, every single cent gets spent, so no more wasting money.

Our mission at giftya is to evolve the great parts of the gift card and drop the not-so-great. Because we all want to give the perfect gift to our friends and loved ones, and it’s the thought that counts.

Ready to try it out? Download giftya today.

Or watch our “Sending a giftya” video to see exactly how it works.

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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