Fraudsters hack holiday gift cards

Now the Christmas seasons is well and truly here, more and more retailers are pushing store gift cards as prezzies.

Whilst these cards have only been around in the UK for a few years, they been going since the 1980s in the US - so long, in fact, that hackers have worked out a way of scamming cardholders.

In the US, gift card companies give out toll-free numbers for cardholders to call, punch in their card number, and the system tells them how much is left on their gift card.

If you punch in the card number of a card still on the retail racks, it returns a zero value. Hackers have realised that, by dialling the toll-free number and trying various gift card numbers - lifted from the racks at their local store - they can tell when a card has been sold and validated with munney.

They are then reportedly hopping quickly online and ordering goodies to be delivered to their local mail drop.

This means that, by the time that Great Aunt Tabatha gets her gift card in the mail, the dosh has been well and truly drained.

There is a way to block this scam, say the gift card companies - punters should make sure that, when they buy their card, the PIN on the gift card hasn't been exposed.

Hmmm - I wonder how many UK stores sell gift cards in this way...