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Counterfeit gift certificates

What it is

When fake gift cards, certificates or bonds for a high street retailer or business are made by someone to look genuine and sold to consumers.

Protect yourself

  • Buy gift cards or certificates direct from the retailer or through a reputable third-party supplier.
  • Search online to find out more about who’s offering you the certificates; do they have a bad reputation elsewhere, or is there very little known about them?
  • If your business accepts gift certificates, make sure that employees know which gift certificates are valid, what security features they should look for and which certificates are no longer accepted.

Spot the signs

  • You’re offered gift certificates from a person or company you’ve never heard of before.
  • The certificates are offered to you at a lower price than the value they can be used for in store.
  • The cards or certificates look badly made or poorly printed, or they don’t have any visible security features to prove they’re genuine such as a hologram sticker.

How it happens

When a fraudster sells a counterfeit gift card or certificate, either the consumer they’ve sold it to or the business they’ve counterfeited will lose out.

You’ll either be told in store that the gift card is invalid and can’t be used, or the cashier accepts the gift certificate unaware that it’s fake and the business loses stock.

In some cases, the fake gift certificates are for a particular brand sold by a third-party retailer. In this case, the stockist loses out when they try to redeem the voucher from the brand.

Find out more about how counterfeit goods are investigated by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit at City of London Police.

How to report it

Report it to us online or call 0300 123 2040.