Search Results for craigslist

I am surprised this scam hasn’t surfaced sooner or in more ways.

As reported for the Detroit area, scammers/sellers list discounted gift cards on Craiglist.  The sellers even encourage buyers to check out the gift cards online at the retailers website and freely give them the gift card numbers.

Once the purchase is completed, the sellers claim the card has been stolen, they received a replacement, and the original gift card is left worthless.  The scammer ends up with a new gift card and the sale proceeds.

Update:  Here is a news story about just such a scam where the scammer was actually arrested.

I recently came across the Gift Card Trader iPhone app, on sale for $4.99 in the iTunes app store.

They are more like a Craigslist for gift cards than a true secondary marketplace, like Plastic Jungle or Gift Card Rescue.  The GiftCard Trader app allows anyone to list their gift card for sale, along with an address the transaction can be done in person.  Buyers can search for a gift card that is located for sale near them.  The idea is that, you are about to go shopping at Home Depot and you check to see if you can pick up a heavily discounted Home Depot gift card on the way there.

There are a number of problems with this business model:

  1. As I’ve mentioned a number of times, Craigslist is simply not a safe place to buy and sell gift cards; there is too high a likelihood of fraud and/or robbery if the value of the card is high enough.  In this sense, GiftCard Trader is no better.
  2. I seriously doubt that people will want to pay a fee for an app like this when there are so many good services already, some of which are bound to come out with iPhone/Android/Blackberry apps in the near future, that will be free and tied to a much safer way to transact.
  3. As with most new gift card secondary marketplaces, there were ZERO available gift cards in my area, and I am surrounded by about 5 million people.
  4. I just wrote about a new type of scam involving the scalping of gift cards in front of stores.  Because there is no way to verify the amount on a gift card at the moment you are purchasing it, you could easily pay $100 for a $0 value gift card.  This model just isn’t safe.

I like the novelty of the idea, and the app appears to be simple and well-written, but the premise behind it has some serious problems.

A few times in my life I’ve bought tickets for an event, such as a concert or baseball game, from a scalper in the vicinity of the event itself.  The results have been mixed; sometimes the tickets are what they say the are, sometimes not, but I went into them with the full knowledge that I might not get exactly what was being offered.

If someone offers to sell you a Home Depot gift card at a steep discount, right in front of Home Depot, you might be suspicious and with good reason, as this report of just such a scam relates.  There is simply no way to tell on the spot whether a gift card has any value on it whatsoever. In this sense a gift card is much easier to fake than an event ticket.

Many of the scams involving gift cards are due to people doing what common sense would dictate otherwise.  It’s definitely not a good idea to buy a gift card from some random person on the street, or on Craigslist.  Ebay at least has some buyer protections (through PayPal).  You best bet if you want to buy discounted gift cards is to use one of the secondary marketplaces we’ve listed on our resources page.

Here is an interesting comment to a post on Plastic Jungle:

I was selling Visa Gift cards on Ebay for $125 for a $100 card. I couldn’t figure out why they would pay more but was happy they were. After ebay and paypal fees and shipping, I only made around $10. Well, around a week later, a guy who had purchased $1500 in cards did a chargeback on all 14 transactions. If I had not sent them with a tracking number so I could prove that they were received, I would have lost all the money. Once I gave the tracking number to Paypal, they released my money to me. If you ever sell a gift card, don’t just stick a stamp on it, you can’t prove that you sent it or that it was delivered. You need to go to your post office and pay extra to get a delivery confirmation. Boy am I glad I did it that way. 4 other people that I sold cards to tried to scam me the same way but I won because I had a tracking number. Who knows, they all could have been the same guy.

This is similar to the Craigslist scam that we reported on a few days ago, but from the perspective of the buyer scamming the seller.

While there are few options for selling open-loop (Visa type) gift cards among the plentiful sites where you can buy or trade gift cards (see our resources page), we have yet to hear that any of those sites are scams; in fact they all appear quite legitimate.  You are much better off buying of selling used gift cards through one of those services than you are through Ebay or Craigslist., a gift card buy/sell/trading site, has launched a new social network-linked gift card exchange to allow people to buy, sell, or trade gift cards without the overhead involved in using a service.  Why is this better than Craigslist?  The idea is that with access to the other persons social network profile (aka Facebook), people can feel more comfortable doing business with them, versus some random person they might meet on Craigslist.

This story about a drug ring selling fraudulent gift cards makes me thing that perhaps eBay and Craigslist aren’t the best places to buy gift cards online. Perhaps using one of the sites listed on our resources page would provide a potential for a refund of the card turned out to be bogus.