Gift cards are often the ultimate last minute gift for a lot of shoppers, but it's also an easy target for scammers.
At several Colorado Springs King Soopers, they've actually pulled several big name cards off their shelves and put them behind the counter. Shoppers must now ask for them specifically. They told 11 News it's because crooks nationwide are tampering with them and once you buy them, they take the money.
For a lot of different reasons, gift cards are a perpetual favorite when it comes to holiday shopping.
"Gift cards are fantastic they're an easy way to get things done in a hurry," one Springs shopper said.
"It's better instead of trying to go and pick out gifts, and at least giving them the card let them pick out what they want," another added.
"It just gives (my grandkids) a chance to go shopping and do their own thing, especially after Christmas day," one mom told us.
They're easy to buy, easy to ship, and easy to use. Now, it's easy for scammers and crooks to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. Visa gift cards, along with American Express cards, are now only available upon request in several King Soopers.
We've learned that the exposed bar code and numbers can leave shoppers vulnerable.
"That's why I always cover it when I do that, and they have a lot of those shields so you have to pay attention to that," one shopper said.
Now because this can be problematic, here are a few ways you can protect yourself:
-Inspect the card before you buy it. Make sure none of the protective stickers were removed and that the codes on the back haven't been scratched off, revealing a pin number
-Also, along with the card give your original receipt so they can verify the card's purchase in case it is lost or stolen.
-Experts advise that you should treat gift cards like cash and keep them in a safe place.
If you ever experience a problem with a card, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here.