Gift cards are a great last minute gift idea. And deals can be found on sites like cardswap.ca, which enables individuals to sell their gift cards. But it appears that some consumers have encountered several issues when they purchased gift cards from sites that promise deep discounts.

In November, the media outlets in my city were alerted to a local web site promising half priced Petro Canada gift cards, which were not received by some of customers that purchased them from the site. And this very site is again in the news this month for having been asked to stop using LCBO and M&M Meat Shop trademarks.

Some individuals purchasing discounted gift cards on public classified advertisement sites like Kijiji and Craig’s List have also had their gift card balances voided within days of their purchase because these gift cards had either been stolen or had originally been purchased with stolen credit cards.

Even legitimate gift card sellers on the public classified advertisement web sites have had their balances stolen by fraudsters, who use the information obtained from the sellers to make unauthorized online purchases.

Social media sites like Facebook are also having problems with spammers who promise free or discounted gift cards in order to gain control of a user’s accounts though the installation of an application.

Victims of this social media gift card scam are usually asked to fill up a survey for a gift card, only to have their account used to post advertisements every few minutes.

The best way to obtain gift cards/gift certificates is obviously through a retailer, who will send cards to you or the intended recipient, either physically or by email. But I do run into the occasional deal on iTunesicon music, book or app cards through my local pharmacies or grocery stores, that i’ve found in my local flyers. And individual retailers do occasionally offer discounts on gift cards via their mailing lists.