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BBB urgers shoppers, stores to watch for gift card scams

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching, consumer advocates and law enforcement joined together Monday to warn shoppers and retailers about gift card scams.

For retailers, it means being on the look out for individuals who use stolen credit cards to buy large quantities of reloadable or prepaid debit and credit gift cards and then use them at other stores or sell them online.

“It is critical for us to alert retailers to this potential criminal activity,” said Warren Clark, president of the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York.

Joined by officials with the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Attorney’s office, the BBB also warned consumers about fraudulent gift cards.

They advised shoppers to be wary of buying gift cards from third parties or online auctions because it is impossible to tell if the cards have any remaining value. Consumers also should check to see if the card has an expiration date or if there are fees associated with it.