By Grant Bissell
St. Louis (KSDK) - 'Tis the season for rip-offs, especially when it comes to gift cards.
Gift cards are a $100 million business, and scammers know it.
The latest scheme involves stealing gift card numbers before the cards are even bought.
Conmen will visit a store and write down the numbers on the back of gift cards. Then they'll wait until the cards are activated and start shopping online with your money.
The best way to protect yourself is to buy a card from behind the counter, if possible.
The Better Business Bureau also has suggestions on how to make a safe purchase.
"If you're buying a gift card on the computer make sure you're doing it through a secure site to protect your credit card information. And make sure that you use a credit card to buy the gift card so that if there is a problem with the gift card after you send it you can challenge it and get the money back from your credit card company," said Chris Thetford with the St. Louis BBB.
Remember, while gift card laws have changed recently, you still need to check for hidden fees and expiration dates.
And if all of this has you nervous about gift cards, you can always give cash or a check instead.