It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for scammers.
A TikToker has revealed a brand-new way hackers and scammers are allegedly attempting to steal money this holiday season.
According to Annie Doran, who goes by @annieyikes on the social media platform, scammers are supposedly placing fake barcodes over the originals so that when the unwitting victim goes to put money on the card, the funds are directed toward the scammer instead of the card.
“Please check your gift cards I’ve seen these at a ton of big businesses,” she claimed in the caption. “Scammers are planting these barcodes everywhere. Be careful!
Doran posted the video on Monday and it has since received 331,000 views.
To spot these alleged fakes, she told viewers that they should look at the card’s barcode and see if they scratch off a potential decoy code.
Cybersecurity expert Adam Levin also mentioned a similar scam happening lately, but noted that people intending to buy gift cards should purchase the ones closer to the register as a safeguard.
“What happens is, scammers go into stores at weird hours when employees aren’t looking, they’ll take cards and scratch the back to get the authentication code, cover it up and put it back on the rack,” Levin told GoBankingRates.
“When you buy these cards you’re basically giving the scammer free money and your giftee will be left with an invalid amount,” he added.
“If the gift card you choose is behind the counter, it will be a lot safer.”