If you're like most, you'll pick up a gift card or two for any special occasion. Whether it be for the holidays or a birthday or even just because, gift cards are the perfect gift for those who are hard to shop for. There have been a few scams in recent years capitalizing on the gift card craze. Here are three things you should watch out for when buying a gift card.

  • Inspect The Card Before Buying It

    Make sure that any protective stickers are still in tact and that the back of the card hasn't been scratched off, showing the numbers. Thieves will take these numbers so when someone activates these cards with your money, they can take advantage of the credit before you or the recipient has the opportunity to.

    Flickr, Jeffrey Beall
  • Consider Businesses That Are Struggling

    It's not always the case, but be aware of buying a gift card from business that are struggling financially. From restaurants to retailers, if they go out of business before you can cash your card in, you may be out of luck.

    Flickr, runran
  • Buy From a Known Source

    It almost goes without saying, but it should be said. Get your gift card from a reputable source. If not directly from that specific store or restaurant, most national chain retail stores like Safeway, Albertson's and Fred Meyer all carry cards to multiple places. I wouldn't buy one from some guy on the street, for instance.

    Flickr, Rob Bourdon