With security improving around gift cards, scammers are resorting to new tactics, including old-fashioned trickery and new technology. "As the locks have gotten more sophisticated, so have the lock picks," says Ben Jackson, a senior analyst at Mercator Advisory Group, a Maynard, Mass.-based company that tracks the consumer payments industry. Gift cards attract criminals because they're big business. U.S. consumers loaded $112.3 billion onto gift cards in 2012, according to Mercator reports published in August. The figure includes both closed-loop gift cards, which can only be used at a single retailer, and open-loop cards, which can be used at any store that accepts them. The dollar amount loaded on closed-loop cards grew 4 percent from 2011, while the open-loop market grew 7 percent."The thing about gift card fraud is it's the old, 'John Dillinger, why do you rob banks?' 'Because that's where the money is,'" Jackson says. Classic schemes evolve Thieves continue to use some of the same...
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