Secondary Gift Card Market Heroes And Villains

Gift card buyers, sellers, and exchangers should be pretty good at protecting themselves by now; and yet scammers adapt, and consumers continue to get duped, making the secondary gift card market a buyer-and-seller-beware place to do business.

What a great convenience to be able to shed the unwanted Home Depot gift card from Uncle Dan and trade it for a Barnes & Noble with a little Starbucks on the side, if that’s what you’re into. But trading for what you want shouldn’t come at the risk of losing what you had in the first place.

A new secondary gift card market fraud warning from the FBI circulated in mid-June, warning consumers to pay attention.

Trends in thievery show scammers stealing money from unaware gift card sellers by completing a sales transaction, using newly received gift cards quickly and disputing the credit card charge they incurred to purchase them, thereby never actually paying for the cards they already used.

Another favored way unsuspecting buyers get scammed happens when auction item winners are asked to send sellers unused gift cards to “pay” for the item they want. No actual cash is exchanged, but the auction item buyer never sees their purchase, even after sending the unused gift cards as payment.

In spite of evident risks, the secondary gift card market does have its heroes. Reputable, qualified, security-savy resale gift card providers do exist to help keep buyers and sellers safe. is a shining example. As pioneers in the industry, its founders have participated in capturing scammers red-handed, and have designed industry-standard consumer security measures. They even purchased their security-deficient, eBay-esque competitors, and brought them into the fold of responsible gift card exchange.

“People have no way of knowing how that gift card was acquired — legally or fraudulently.” noted Elliot Bohm, CEO and Founder of in an interview with Karsten Strauss of Forbes.

And that is why verifies all second-hand gift cards they acquire before making them available for resale. They are at the forefront of making sure consumers can bypass getting scammed and safely get the gift cards they want.

While the presence of do-gooders like is a boon for everyone, it doesn’t mean gift card buyers, sellers, and exchangers should go forth blindly and trust everyone. It does mean:

  • Research companies before of doing business with them. If it looks sketchy, it probably is.
  • Make sure all transactions are completed before goods (including PIN’s) are exchanged.
  • Bypass social media posts offering “amazing deals.” They are usually too good to be true.

Common sense should be your guide. Use reputable gift card re-sellers that have a positive online presence, and you’ll have the perfect gift cards in hand, or sold to the perfect buyer in no time.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]