Safety Precautions for Using a Prepaid Gift Card

Summary:  Using a prepaid gift card instead of credit or debit card can save you from many problems. Make sure that you are still following all the basic card usage safety precautions.

Identity theft is a big challenge for law enforcement these days with a great upsurge in payment card related crimes. Many people have lost money and suffered damage to their credit score because of identity theft. There are many risks associated with using your credit or debit card, both online or offline but a prepaid gift card can save you from most if not all of them. At the same time, it is mandatory to observe some basic safety precautions while using prepaid cards. Let us have a look at the most basic of these steps for safe transactions online and offline.

Vanilla Visa Prepaid card

First, never let your card out of your sight. This is especially applicable in diners and restaurants where the server might take your card to cashier to make the charge. If your card goes out of sight there is a big risk that an unscrupulous person might note down card details including card number, CVV and card validity date. These are enough to make unauthorized online charges on the card which will cost you most or all your balance.

Second, the 3-digit CVV number on the back side of a gift card is very important. It is used to authenticate the card for online or telephonic transactions. Make sure that you never let anyone know the CVV of your card. The best approach is to memorize the CVV and then blacken it with a felt tip sharpie pen or marker. This will make it much harder for anyone to just casually read out your CVV.

Third, do not ever use your prepaid gift card on a public usage computer such as that in library or at an airport. These computers are almost always infected with spyware and key loggers which record card details and send them to criminal elements who will use the card details to defraud you of your money. Always make sure that you use your own device – phone, tablet or laptop to make prepaid gift card payments.

Fourth, if you are using your card for online transaction, make sure that you do not tick the ‘remember card details’ check box on the web site. This step is strongly advised regardless if you are using a personal computer or if you are using a computer that others in you family have access to. There are many cases where third party websites or browsers have been hacked and stored card details stole from them. The details cannot be stolen if they are not saved in browser or on any other website.

Remember that even though prepaid card systems have many in-built fraud protection systems but basic careful steps in card handling saves a lot of money and effort.