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Don't be fooled by gift card scammers this holiday season -- here's what to look out for

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gift cards are one of the top holiday gifts but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says it's easy for scammers to steal the money from them without you even knowing it. 

Two men were arrested in Elm Grove last month, for stealing Visa gift cards and then replacing them on the rack with altered bar codes. 

BBB officials say scammers will scratch the back off, write down the numbers, replace the strip and then put the cards back. Then when you go to use one, the money will be gone. 

BBB officials say before you guy a gift card, take a closer look at the packaging to see if there are any tear, wrinkles or any indication its been tampered with. 

They suggest grabbing gift cards from the back because there is less of a chance they were tampered with. 

The BBB says there is another easy way to ensure your money won't be stolen. 

“Use it and use it as soon as you can. If a business goes out of business it’s worthless. Sometimes gift cards can lose their value over time and every year over two billion dollars of gift cards are unused," said Jim Temmer, CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin. "A lot of times people get them, throw them in a drawer, do something with it and they don’t use it.”

The BBB says it's a smart idea to register your gift cards if that is available at the company because it will give you more protection from scammers trying to steal your money. 

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