If you’re looking for a gift card for someone’s birthday, Christmas, or any other holiday, you’ve probably seen the selection of gift cards available at your local CVS.
Does CVS sell American Express Gift Cards? You can buy an American Express gift card at your local CVS pharmacy. Other US businesses which sell American Express gift cards include
Though it’s convenient to buy a gift card at your local store, it’s important to be careful and avoid gift card scams. I’ll tell you what to look for in a series of tips to avoid fraud.
What Is an American Express Gift Card?
Unlike store-specific gift cards, an American Express Gift Card is usable at any location which accepts AmEx cards as a form of payment.
If you’re not sure what gift card to buy for someone, a pre-paid gift card from a credit card company is a great option. Visa and Mastercard sell similar gift cards, also available at CVS pharmacies.
Buying an American Express Gift Card at CVS does come with a $3.95 service fee.
How To Use an American Express Gift Card
Once you’ve purchased your gift card, you or your recipient can usually use it right away. If it needs activation, the card should come with instructions on how to activate it.
American Express recommends writing down the information on the card in case it gets lost or stolen. Details include:
- Gift Card Number
- Four Digit Identification Code (front of card)
- Three Digit Security Code (back of card)
- Customer Service Phone Number (back of card)
You can also call the American Express customer service number after you get the card to register it.
How Do I Protect Myself from Gift Card Scams?
Being able to buy a gift card in person is really convenient. Being able to buy one while you’re picking up your prescriptions is even better. However, you want to be careful when buying a gift card in person.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, gift card scams are on the rise in the United States. Nearly 40,000 customers reported $148 million dollars lost in gift card scams in the first nine months of 2021 alone.
The median amount scammers steal from an individual is also up to $1000.
With the rise in scams, companies are training their employees to combat fraud. Still, they don’t always catch the scammers. It’s important for you, the consumer, to be on the lookout for signs of tampering.
Tip 1: Don’t Buy a Tampered Gift Card
If you find a gift card with damaged packaging, a missing protective sticker over the pin number, or a scratched-off pin number, hand it over to store staff and don’t buy it.
While some scammers take care in fixing the packaging before they put their gift cards back on the rack, most don’t bother and figure customers won’t notice.
That’s also why scammers usually put their tampered cards on the front row of the rack. Not only is it the easiest to access, it’s likely most customers won’t take the trouble to dig past the damaged gift cards.
Tip 2: Buy Gift Cards Online Directly from Store Websites
It’s true that people “flip” their gift cards online. If they don’t want a gift card, or don’t think they’ll use it, there are several apps and platforms where they can sell their gift cards for a profit.
While many use these in good faith, scammers use them too.
If you know which company you want a gift card from, find their official website. This also applies if you want an American Express gift card.
You’ll have to pay a shipping fee, but you can also rest easy knowing you have an actual, verified gift card, safe from scams.
Tip 3: Don’t Give Gift Card Information Over the Phone
Scammers use several tactics to try to get your money through phone calls. They can mask their caller ID so it looks like they’re calling from a genuine organization or a friend.
Keep in mind a genuine government agency or company will never ask you to pay them with a gift card. Anyone calling from the IRS, for example, and demanding your gift card information for back taxes or fees, is a scammer.
Hang up and report the incident. If they keep calling, block their number but keep their messages handy.
A scammer also might call pretending to be a family member, boss, or friend. They’ll probably claim they’re in an urgent situation and need you to load money onto a gift card right away. Before giving them any money or info, hang up and call the person they’re imitating.
Scammers might also claim something bad will happen to you if you don’t give them what they want. I can assure you, you will lose nothing if you don’t give them information.
Where Do I Report a Gift Card Scam?
Unfortunately, your money might be difficult to recover if you’re the victim of this kind of scam. Gift cards don’t have the same regulations and oversight as credit or debit cards.
The Asset Recovery team at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center might be able to help you.
Even if you don’t get your money back, reporting the scam will help the government catch the scammer and prevent them from hurting anyone else.
You can contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to report the scam. Both agencies accept complaints made online or over the phone.
CVS, along with
While being able to buy gift cards at these locations is convenient, physical gift cards on store racks are often targets of scammers.
Since gift card scams are on the rise, it’s important to be aware of tactics and how to spot signs of gift card tampering.
If you follow my tips, you’re less likely to be the victim of a gift card scam.
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