It's that time of the year again when we're all hustling and bustling to complete all of our Christmas shopping before it's too late and the stores are all closed up for the holiday. Fortunately, at least at the writing of this important article, there are still 12 days of shopping days left, so that's good, right?

So many times over the last decade or so, we have had to relay information about area scams to you to provide a heads up on what is going on.

Now, unfortunately, we have to do it again. And this time, it involves gift cards.

According to WGME 13, the scam is fairly complex and involves a thief going into a store that sells gift cards, taking a pile of gift cards, and walking out of the store without ringing them up and adding any money to them.

Basically, when the thief leaves the store with the cards, they're empty and completely useless.

Towfiqu barbhuiya, Unsplash
Towfiqu barbhuiya, Unsplash

When they get home, they heat the envelope up so they can discreetly remove the gift card from its packaging, according to WGME, and after they have the card out, they will very carefully remove the long several-digit activation code that you need to access the funds once it's loaded with money.

After that, they put it all back together, go back to the store they got them at, and hang them back on the rack, the news station reported.

WGME went on to explain that what happens next is a shopper will come along and grab a card to purchase as a gift, take it to the register and load it up with however much money they'd like. After that card has been loaded, the thief then has the access code to punch in online and take advantage of all the money that has been loaded on it., unsplash, unsplash

Jayne Margesson, from AARP Maine, told WGME in part,

"If you do want to pick one up from a store where they have those big kiosks, stop yourself and don't get it from the kiosk. Get it from the manager or go to cashier and say, 'I would like to get this gift card but I want one that's behind the counter.' Because the ones that are on the kiosk, that's where the scammers may have already compromised them."

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