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How to practice gift card safety this holiday season

Posted at 2:20 PM, Dec 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-26 17:03:55-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Many people receive gift cards this time of the year, but it's important to know how to keep them secure.

Consumer experts say because of the magnetic strip and already pre-determined PIN number, gift cards can be a gold mine for hackers.

"As technology evolves for our consumers a lot of folks try different ways to try and manipulate the system," says Michael Cotterell, Best Buy.

Consumer experts say holiday shoppers should be leery of how and when they use gift cards.

"What we like a lot of our customers to do is that they treat the gift card as cash. Make sure it's secure in their wallet or their pocketbook," says Cotterell.

Experts say spending them quickly to make sure the funds are protected is key. Also, when purchasing, experts say make sure nothing has been tampered with.

"Make sure that nothing on the back is scratched off. If it even remotely looks like it's scratched off choose another gift card or bring it to a manager's attention," says Cotterell.