Before you buy gift cards this holiday season, consider these dos, don'ts and potential scams

MADISON -- As you begin your holiday shopping, state officials offer up some dos, don'ts and potential scam traps to consider when it comes to gift cards.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) asks shoppers to take steps to ensure that card recipients get the full value of the gift and to watch out for phony promises of cut-rate or free gift cards.

"Free card" scams

Gift cards have been used as the bait in a number of social media, text message and email scams.

    When buying a gift card:

      If you receive a gift card:

        For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at, send an e-mail to or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.