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FRAUD ALERT: Crooks can scam money from your gift cards, how to protect yourself

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(KRON/CNN) -- If you received a gift card during the holidays, listen up.

Consumer Reports magazine is out with a new warning on how crooks can scam money from those cards.

The scam can be as simple as someone taking the card off the shelf.

From there, they simply write down the numbers and scratch off the strip on the back to get the security codes.

Then, using replacement strips, the hacker covers the codes and leaves the store.

Once you buy the altered card and load money onto it, the thief gets an alert.

Experts recommend protecting yourself by buying directly from the retailer online.

And if you do buy a gift card in person from a store, try and get one that is kept behind the register.

If you are the victim of a scam, it may help to call the retailer who issued the card.

They may help identify the fraud and refund your money.

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