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Target rolls out 10% discount gift card sale this weekend

Consumers need to beware of gift card scammers, especially during the holidays

Target holiday gift card concept
Photo (c) CatLane - Getty Images
Shoppers who love the ease of buying gift cards are in for a bonus from Target. The retailer’s gift card sale returns this weekend with a 10% discount.

The demand for gift cards during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated, and they’re a surprisingly large part of Target’s business. The company earns tens of millions in sales each year on the products, with many of those purchases happening in November and December.

FAQs about the sale

If you’ve got questions about Target’s sale, ConsumerAffairs has the answers. Here’s a list of FAQs that shoppers should keep in mind if they plan on taking advantage of the company’s annual offer:

What are the sale dates? Target’s gift card sale lasts two days – Saturday and Sunday, December 4-5, 2021.

Can you buy other retailers’ gift cards? This 10% off deal is for Target store gift cards only. Visa gift cards, Mastercard gift cards, and other companies’ branded gift cards are not included.

Do you have to buy the gift cards at a Target store? No. You can buy them either in-store or online.

Are there limits on how many gift cards you can buy? Shoppers can buy up to $500 in gift cards for a maximum savings of $50. 

Any catches? Yes, one. To get the gift card discount, you have to be a member of Target’s customer loyalty program, “Target Circle.” Among other features, it offers 1% Target Circle earnings rewards on eligible purchases and 5% off when consumers shop on their birthdays.

Are the cards physical or digital? People who buy gift cards online have a choice of receiving them in the mail or digitally via email or text. 

Are the gift cards returnable? No.

Do the cards have an expiration date? Yes, but the Federal Credit Card Act of 2009 requires that every gift card be valid for at least five years.

Beware of gift card scammers

Consumers need to be aware that scammers are looking for ways to cash in on the holiday gift card mania. The techniques some of those scammers use include:

Fake gift cards: Short of Target’s sale, consumers can expect to almost always pay full value for legitimate gift cards. If you’re offered a gift card with a significant discount, don’t take the bait.

“If you see websites offering all kinds of discounts on gift cards, you can be assured that these will turn out to be fakes or they have been acquired in an illegal way and you could be acting as a fence,” Pieter Arnst, Malware Intelligence Researcher at Malwarebytes, told ConsumerAffairs.

Gift card generators: Arnst said that one step up on the “scale of scammery” from fake gift cards are gift card generators. These are websites that supposedly generate codes for all sorts of gift cards, including Amazon and Xbox.

“If you download a gift card generator and you are lucky, it will inform you just before you try it that it does not generate valid gift card codes, but only random codes for ‘educational purposes,’” Arnst said. “That is, after you have filled out endless surveys, and maybe even after given up some of your personal information.”

Don’t believe too-good-to-be-true promises

If you’re someone who thinks this could never happen to you, think again. One ConsumerAffairs reviewer and Target shopper, Jennifer from Marshall, Wis., got the lesson of a lifetime when she got caught in the middle of a gift card scam and wound up liable for $13,500 in purchases at Target.

“It became well known to me at the conclusion of an ‘entice hackers to catch identity thieves’ scam that Target gift cards were a popular method to scam consumers. The asset manager, who had finally asked me if I was being scammed, to whom I had replied ‘I don't think so!’ was finally able to get through my trance, for lack of a better word,” Jennifer explained in a ConsumerAffairs review.

“For one hour and fifteen minutes I entered and exited the store and was witnessed by the same clerk near the same self-checkout counters purchasing up to ten gift cards separately. Shortly after the conclusion of a terrifying four-hour experience, we were present at the Target store with a deputy sheriff. That same asset manager provided 21 copies of receipts for $500 gift cards.”

The moral of this story? You guessed it – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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