Did you receive any gift cards over the holiday season?

You might want to use them as soon as possible. Not just so that you don’t forget them…. but so you can make sure they really have money on them!

Amy Mehrle loves to dote on her children, Baking cupcakes and giving them gift cards whenever they come home to visit.

But, she says, “on Christmas morning when they opened up their gifts, one of the cards said no money….zero balance!”

A gift card she bought her son for a rideshare service had already been drained by someone else.

And no one could help her because she had no proof that she had purchased it.

“The problem was I didn’t keep my receipt,” she said.

Beverly Hacker –meantime — says someone emptied her Apple gift card.

The $50 card she recently purchased at a local supermarket was empty.

“When we got home, this one had been tampered with,” she said.

So how can you protect yourself from disappointment with those holiday gift cards you received over the holiday season?

Consumer reports says never tuck them away in a kitchen drawer: That’s the best way to forget you ever had it.

Some other do’s and don’ts from Consumer Reports:

Do inspect gift cards for package tampering.
Do try to buy gift cards from the counter, not racks in the middle of the store.
Do use it as soon as possible, so you have a chance to dispute a drained gift card.

Meantime:

Don’t throw away any gift card receipts.
Don’t take no for an answer if the store says the card is empty.

Ask the giver if they still have the receipt, then take it to the store’s customer service counter.

Shopper Celina Wilson now checks all gift cards carefully for tampering.

“Just so I know no one scratched off the back,” she said.

So use that gift card as soon as possible, and contact the selling store if there is any problem, so you don’t waste your money.

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