Be careful during the holiday season with gift cards

Action Line

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gift cards are a popular gift during the holidays.

They’re also popular with thieves who want to steal your money.

Gift cards are like cash.

If your card is tampered with or fraudulent, it’s difficult to get your money back.

That’s why officials are urging consumers to be careful this holiday seaosn.

If you receive or give a gift card, here are some steps to follow.

“You need to spend it quickly,” said Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace manager. “And you also need to be aware of who you’re buying it from. When you give that gift card, look, make sure all the numbers, there’s a code that you have to scratch off in the back. Make sure it’s there, and that this card hasn’t been tampered with in any way.”

Whether you’re giving or getting, always keep the receipt with the gift card and check for an expiration date.

When it comes to buying gift cards online, Freitas says you especially need to do your research on where you’re purchasing the card from.

“So is this a legitmate retailer or someone just selling gift cards online?” Freitas said. “Watch out who’s selling that gift card and now that creates an opportunity for the scammer to send you a fake card.”

If you purchase or receive a tampered gift card this holiday season, Freitas says report it directly to the retailer you bought it from.

“What you need to do is go to the person who sold it to you, have that receipt present it to them,” said Freitas. “Of course it’ll be up to them what they do. Of course, if that doesn’t work go to where you’re planning on spending the gift card, you can reach out to them as well.”

If you have a concern or are interested in becoming an action line volunteer, give us a call Monday through Friday at 591-0222.

You can also send an email to

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