Watch for phony barcodes Like No ratings yet.

“Consumers warned to watch for phony barcodes after local victim bilked by gift card scam.”

Thieves are putting fake barcodes on gift cards sold at retail outlets and consumers have been victimized, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

Gift cards with phony barcodes were found recently at a Centennial grocery store where a woman purchased a $500 gift card only to find that there were no funds, according to a news release. Scammers are printing out barcodes and adhering the fake code on the gift card over the legitimate code.

“When the card is activated, the money is added to the scammer’s card instead of the card being purchased,” the sheriff’s office said.

To avoid being victimized, the sheriff’s office urges consumers to:

Examine the back of the gift card before you buy it and check for signs of tampering, like barcode stickers
Make sure the gift card’s barcode number, visible through the window on the back of the gift card’s packaging, matches the number on the packaging itself
Pick a gift card from the middle or back of the rack since they are less likely to have been tampered with.

The gift card barcode scam has been around for years, experts say, and there’s typically an uptick around the busy holiday shopping season when girt card purchases are at a peak. During the first nine months of 2021, the Federal Trade Commission reported more than $148 million in gift card thefts.

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