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Deputies urge caution on gift card use

Posted: January 12, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 12, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station are urging caution for people looking to purchase gift cards.

A recent trend is thieves stealing gift cards and reselling them to businesses, who in turn sell them back to members of the public, potentially not knowing the cards are stolen, according to a news release from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

This is a trend in part because of the growing popularity of gift cards. Americans spent nearly $30 billion on gift cards this past holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.

“The detectives and deputies at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station know that with new trends in spending come new trends in crime,” reads the news release.

Many of the businesses who are reselling gift cards are doing so without the proper secondhand dealer’s license and oftentimes do not ask the seller for identification or information about where the seller obtained the gift card, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Station.

Local deputies are “currently investigating numerous cases of gift card thefts,” according to the news release. It appears many gift cards are stolen from an unlocked vehicle or swiped from an unattended purse or wallet.

“Gift card thefts are very labor intensive, and it is very difficult to locate suspects,” the news release reads. “Deputies are asking your help in safeguarding your gift cards and valuables.”

Some tips to prevent gift card theft are to keep them secure just like you would with cash and to never leave them in plain view or unattended in a vehicle, purse or wallet.

Deputies also suggest using gift cards soon after receiving them since “it’s not unusual to lose or forget about them.”

Any business who is legally licensed to re-sell gift cards will also have a secondhand dealer’s license that they will be able to display to the public.

“Remember, by continuing to work together, we will send a ‘not in Santa Clarita’ message to thieves and those who encourage theft by illegally purchasing secondhand items,” the news release reads.

 

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