The paranoia surrounding gift cards.

Today is my father’s birthday, so I needed to pick up a present. The last few times I had to resort to gift cards because he’s so hard to shop for. On top of that his health problems lately have limited my choices of what gift card to get. He may not get out much but he still does once in a while. He also has lawnmowers and such that require gasoline. I know he gets gas at the station down the street. Let’s put aside any debate about whether or not to support big oil. It looked to be my best choice for a gift, especially in a rush. So I decided to run down to that station and pick up a gift card.

It turns out not to be quite as simple as that. That station doesn’t sell them anymore. apparently somebody hacked into that company’s gift card system and stole a bunch of card numbers. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with them if they have to provide a physical card for gas. I’m guessing how this works is that when somebody buys a card that money goes right to the hacker that stole the card’s number. The management at this gas station decided not to sell them any more because they couldn’t be sure if they were giving out cards that would actually be good or not. They still sold gift certificates, but apparently only one person at the place is authorized to sell them. He won’t be in until Monday, so that doesn’t do me any good.

The guy I spoke to did say that they still accept this gas company’s gift cards. But I don’t want to buy one if my money might just go to some douche bag who stole the card number. I would imagine that the stole card numbers would be deactivated but how can I be sure? The weird thing is that after a quick news search I haven’t found any story about this hacking job. I’m not claiming that I have any sort of scoop. That’s why I’m not mentioning the brand name of the gas company in question. I don’t know how true the story might be, even if the people who work at the gas station think it’s true. It might only be a local problem. I don’t know much about such things.

Nevertheless it makes me nervous when I try to get a gift card for somebody now. A problem like this might not ever happen to me but the possibility is there. There’s numerous ways that people could steal my money but to do it when I’m trying to get a gift for somebody is just mean. I was considering getting one of those credit card company gift cards and he could use it at any time. But I would imagine that they would be more likely to get hacked. Granted, those companies are probably more likely to have more and better safeguards in place. Still, I’m getting tired of this paranoia seeping into the marketplace like this.

I would love to be able to just buy a thing (or things) anyway. Gas would be hard. I would have to factor the cost of a gas can into my budget for his gift. He has plenty of gas cans already. But at this point I can’t think of anything to get him. I’m going out for breakfast tomorrow. Maybe something will strike me then. I’m too tired to think of anything now. I wouldn’t announce what I’m getting for him online, although I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read this blog.

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