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Fake Gift Card Balance Checking Sites May Steal Your Money

By December 26, 2020September 2nd, 2021Cybersecurity

Scammers have a new way of ripping people off this year with their latest cybersecurity threat. If you’re not mindful of it, it could literally cost you. Gift cards have always been fairly popular, but this year, they seem to be more popular than ever. According to the online fraud prevention company, Bolster, thieves have been hard at work setting up bogus ‘gift card balance’ checking websites designed to siphon money away from unsuspecting consumers.

Here’s’ how it works:

fake gift card - olmecYou get a gift card for Christmas and put it in a drawer for a few weeks or even months. Eventually, you find it, but by now, you can’t remember if you spent some of the money that was on the card. So you’re not at all sure how much money is left. You go online and do some searching, which brings up a link to a site promising to give you your gift card balance in just a few clicks.

You surf to the page, enter in your card number and instead of giving you your balance information. (usually you’ll get a timeout message, but some are more sophisticated than that), it will send the gift card number to a command and control server so the hackers can steal it. They use it to order goodies for themselves, either to keep or resell.

It’s low, but it’s an easy scam to pull off, and even relatively unsophisticated cyber criminals can manage it, so expect to see lots of bogus balance checking sites this year.

While Target seems to be the retailer that the scammers are most focused on this year, Bolster has spotted a number of other fake balance checking sites targeting companies like:

  • Bath and Body Works
  • Forever 21
  • Amazon
  • The Google Play Store
  • And HBO

Just be aware that the scam exists, and be mindful of where you go on the web when you check your gift card balances.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.