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I've switched to gift cards for buying online.

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Mia, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This week I bought gift cards for myself to buy books online. It's easier, far more anonymous and secure than my credit cards. The book sellers I used to buy from, kept my credit card number stored on their sites to make it easier. No longer buy from them, as they stored my information perpetually on their site. So I closed those accounts.

    One of the sites was hacked and information taken on thousands of customers a few years ago. My card was used at the time, or sold at the time to someone who bought things, that I was not liable for. So the bank changed my number, and suggested I use a low balance card only for online purchases. That credit card was also used by someone, who attempted to use it around the holidays thinking that the purchases would go unnoticed. It was immediately flagged by the bank and cancelled. Another card was issued to me.

    As I buy so little online, books, movies, and seeds and sometimes food I cannot get locally. I will in future resort to using gift cards for purchases. Used to use Pay Pal, which was also compromised at one time. So I've given up on feeling safe with online purchases. Do you buy things online? And if so, have your credit cards or pay pal accounts ever been compromised?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    IMO both have advantages and disadvantages:

    I once had a credit card reissued on the advice of a creditor. Had nothing to do with Paypal. Though I can't say my account was actually compromised either. It was just done as a precaution. Though I do make a point of keeping my online purchases limited to a very few reputable vendors with only one particular card.

    However that said, I have had a gift card given to me at Christmas that was indeed compromised. I used only about 33% of it with the first transaction, only to discover that someone had used the balance right after that. A few months later I saw a local news broadcast that described how thieves would steal a card, expose card information to learn how to track the balance, only to later put it back on the store racks. So when I used the card, the thief was right there to take the remaining 66% of the balance after my one- and only purchase.

    Rule of thumb: Best to avoid gift cards on display that patrons have direct physical access to. And to carefully examine any card to make sure it hasn't been tampered or had information publicly exposed.

    Buying Gift Cards? Look Out for Scams
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  3. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    Yes.
    Not yet.
    It's easier to just get replacement cards with a new numbers. I still use real credit cards to pay local contractors over the phone.
    I use a debit card attached to a low-balance checking account, and fill it as I use it.
    One for personal.
    One for business.

    Gift cards have a fee and it is difficult to get unspent or refunded money back off of them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  4. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I use PayPal for online purchases and Visa for local purchases. That's a good idea to tie your PayPal account to either a low balance bank account or credit card - I never thought of doing that. I've had credit cards reissued to me after the issuer's computer records were hacked but so far I haven't had money taken by a thief.
     
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  5. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    My main PayPal account is attached to that same bank account. We have three other PayPal accounts that are not tied to any bank accounts. (We use them like refillable gift cards that are fed by the first PP account.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  6. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    I use Paypal, and never, ever use credit cards for anything at all. Debit only, which is what that's attached to.

    Havent had a problem. Though I make sure that all of my passwords are a demented jumble of random numbers and letters, so that might help. And I only really buy from exactly two places, which is Steam or Amazon. Very rare that I buy from anywhere else.

    I would never use a credit card though, for anything. Sounds like trouble waiting to happen. Not that I know how they work...
     
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  7. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    PayPal won't let you use fake names on your account, but I am not sure how they feel about variations of your real name.

    Say Susan Elizabeth Smith wants to open additional PayPal accounts (for separate debit cards).
    Her first account is in the name, Susan Smith.
    She can open later accounts replacing "Susan" with
    • Sue,
    • Suzie,
    • S. E.,
    • Elizabeth,
    • Liz,
    • Beth,
    • Betty, etc.
    Each account requires a different email address, too. There is a way (in Gmail & others) to have different email addresses come to the same mailbox, so you won't have to open multiple email accounts.

    (Just don't let them join your PayPal account to your Google account, when they ask.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  8. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    Credit cards are like debit cards, but instead of being attached to a bank account, they are attached to a credit line; that is, a loan with a set ceiling.

    If you buy a $50 item with a credit card, you just borrowed $50 to pay for that item. If it has a $2000 limit, it won't stop any purchases until they reach a total of $2000.

    If you have $55 on a debit card (bank, PayPal or gift card), its balance goes down to $5 until you add more money to them. If a thief tries to buy a $20 item, the card will decline (as long as there is no backup funding on it).

    "Backup funding" is an alternate source of money.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  9. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I buy things online, mostly via PayPal, sometimes Revolut. I've never had a card compromised. I have both a credit card and a debit card, but rarely use the credit card, so there aren't that many places where the card details could be stored online. I've started to use Revolut for some day to day purchases too. One thing I like about Revolut is that it's easy to create and cancel a card, also you can create an electronic card without having a physical card, I can transfer a small amount of money equivalent to the amount I intend to spend, or even just create a new card and cancel it as soon as I make the purchase if I want to.
     
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  10. Rae Ray

    Rae Ray Active Member V.I.P Member

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    I almost exclusively buy online. All except food, but with an Amazon Prime account, I could buy food and have it delivered to my front door in about an hour, Wow ! As far as having trouble with online fraud problems, not so much, but with the ever growing internet, it's probably only a matter of time. Have a great day Ms. Mia. :sunglasses:
     
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  11. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I use two credit cards. One for mainly online only purchases and the other for in-person purchases. There is no perfect solution. Just do what works for you. If you can manage your finances well, stick with credit cards. If you have a smart phone, Apply Pay is much harder to decript than a regular credit card.

    I think I've heard of something happening to PayPal one time and that was before I started using it as an online buyer and seller. I'd say PayPal and GooglePay are still reputable overall despite the issues that may've come up for them. I'd avoid Cash App. I don't like the name of it. It sounds so superficial and grubby. I also knew someone suspect who used it. So, not so keen on it, but that's a personal preference.
     
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  12. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    We have two credit card accounts and use them for virtually all local purchases because we can and do pay off the balances every month so we never incur interest charges, and they accrue significant cash-back awards and travel awards. I review the credit card bills as soon as they arrive in the mail to make sure there are no unauthorized purchases. We don't have debit cards and only one ATM card reserved for true emergencies that require immediate cash.
     
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  13. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Our neighbor told us that they buy gift cards when they plan to take a trip. The reason is that the grocery store gives them points on their loyalty card for any purchase made there. So, buying a couple hundred dollars of gift cards also gets them free stuff or discounts at the grocery store. I think it's a brilliant way to squeeze a little more value out of your money and it would work for Christmas shopping, too.
     
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  14. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    [​IMG] (Most ATM cards ARE debit cards...)
     
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  15. Rae Ray

    Rae Ray Active Member V.I.P Member

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    :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:
     
  16. KagamineLen

    KagamineLen Gay and autistic midlife weeb.

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    I did the same thing for Xbox and PlayStation digital purchases. When I use gift cards, I keep myself from making foolish stoned 3AM purchases on my debit card that force me to eat ramen for a week until my next paycheck.
     
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  17. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    I was once held up in Montreal International Airport by TSA/Customs because a drug dealer in San Francisco had used a fake driver's license with my name and CADL number and his picture on it to post bond and then skip the country. Bored bureaucrats and uniformed officers kept asking me if I had a tattoo on my arm. Showing my arm and its lack of any tatoo or signs of tatoo removal didn't matter, I had to verbally reply "no" repeatedly.

    It still took an hour for them to pass me through to the terminal. My wife was "free" to go on without me. Glad we got there really early. TSA said they didn't have to book me a later flight if they made me late. That would have been my nickel and I could argue with my vacation insurance if I had such a thing.

    I now have a letter from the TSA that has my incident number on it in case I ever got stopped again for it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  18. VictorR

    VictorR Random Member

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    I use credit cards only, since unlike debit cards, it's not my money being messed with (or worse, account frozen) if something goes wrong. As Mary Terry and Nervous Rex noted, there can be considerable benefits (sometimes stack-able, if say you are shopping at a grocery store with its own rewards program, while using a card that gives 3% cash back, for example).

    I eschew creating accounts and where possible will use "guest checkout."

    When buying gift cards myself, to add to Judge's comment - it the cards are in the open, I'll pull some from the back of the rack, and check to see if they're sequentially numbered (sometimes the last digit is a checksum, so it'd be comparing the earlier digits) and there's no signs of tampering.
     
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  19. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Funny, so far it's worked out well. The gift cards are for a specific bookstore in Canada and they can only be used to buy books. Keeping fingers crossed that thieves are not interested in reselling books as much as they are in cash or other more saleable items like electronics.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  20. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    You can never to be careful for sure especially when it comes to credit cards. Good for you for doing this.
     
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