Here’s a probable answer for that reader who complained Friday that HomeDepot.com won’t let you use gift cards, forcing him to drive 20 miles away to get his tool fix. It’s probably better than driving all the way there, only to find his gift card was empty. If you recall, last year there was a big problem with thieves stealing git cards….
What they do is write down or take cameraphone pix of the gift cards in the stores before they are sold to customers. They periodically check in online to see if the cards have been sold and activated. Once they see the card is live, they order a bunch of stuff online with the stolen gift card numbers. By requiring the gift card be physically present, retailers, not just Home Depot, are hoping to prevent fraud. Takeaway: before buying loved ones gift cards this season, check to see if the cards can only be used in the flesh, and then make sure they live near a retail location.
RELATED: Gift Cards Are New Source of Scams