Many people have fallen victim to gift card scams in recent years. The details vary, but the general scam is that the victim gets some sort of message purportedly from a bank or government entity demanding immediate payment in the form of gift cards. As a result, many stores have posted signs alerting consumers to the ruse and those of us who buy a lot of gift cards have probably been questioned by a well-intentioned cashier at some point who wanted to make sure that we weren’t buying the gift cards to pay someone demanding money. Today I had a different experience: Capital One “had my back” on a gift card purchase, though in my case I wasn’t in need of the text message that came through shortly after checking out at Walmart.
That’s a nice proactive method of protecting consumers from being scammed. On the other hand, I was less enthusiastic about the fact that they have some sort of filter set to immediately notice that type of transaction and send notification. It truly looks like a tool primarily aimed at protecting consumers (if it were meant to be primarily aimed at stopping people from manufactured spending, they probably wouldn’t have it set to alert the cardholder). Still, it may be worth a note of caution here.