Consumer Alert: Warning about a gift card scam

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- You're probably giving or getting one of the most popular gifts this holiday season, a gift card.

The national retail federation expects $27 billion will be spent on gift cards this season.

However, watch out for the "zero balance scam," a scam that could increase during the holidays.

Consumer watchdogs say with chip cards being harder to hack, gift cards could be a target.

Pin numbers can be stolen off the cards and, once the card is activated, criminals act fast to drain the money.

The Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection says look closely to make sure the protective strip hasn't been tampered with.

Some tips to protect yourself include: buying gift cards in packaging or those kept behind the register.

Get the gift card and keep the receipt that shows how much it's for in case you have a problem.

Also, some gift cards you're able to register online which gives you more protection.

Gift cards don't have federal law protections but if you have the receipt, or registered the card online, the store might be willing to help you recover what you lost.

For more information on how to deal with problems with a gift card, click here.