HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - If you are a last-minute shopper, the answer to your problems may be gift cards, but authorities are urging people to avoid being scammed.
John O'Hara with the Better Business Bureau said it is important to make sure the gift card has not been used before you purchase it.
"What people do is they pull those cards off, they scratch off the back, getting the information, they take pictures of those cards and put them back on the rack," O'Hara said.
To ensure that it works, let the cashier scan it.
"You want to see them scan, they will give you a separate receipt showing it's on there," O'Hara said.
O'Hara urges shoppers to keep their receipts in a secure location.
"In case someone does have a problem, that will at least possibly let you recover your money on that," O'Hara said.
Shoppers can also register gift cards at the store's website if possible.
"This way you have obtained ownership of that card and they know all of your information," O'Hara said.
Never ever give your personal information when you buy gift cards.
"There's no reason to give date of birth or social security numbers for you to purchase a gift card. When you go check out at a store, they don't ask you for that information," O'Hara said.