Consumer protection Director of Bucks County Mike Bannon joined Chris Ermer on his weekly spot on UpWords on Tuesday. This time to discuss ways to keep consumers safe during this stressful time of year. Gift cards have become a very popular present to give to family and friends during the holidays, but these cards also come with some risk.

“It’s a nationwide problem,” Bannon said. “We have certainly seen a lot of scams when it comes to gift cards, one of the things that happens is when people buy gift cards, scammers can get the pin numbers off the back.”

Bannon says this sort of scam can be traced back decades. While gift cards are convenient to buy people, be careful when buying gift cards off of accessible areas such as if they were on a rack in a store where anyone could reach them.

He suggests purchasing the card behind the counter, or buying cards off of the companies website directly.

Chris and Mike also talk about scams that could be linked to social media, including “surveys” to win free gift cards. “They trick you into following links to a phony website, which in turn is fishing for your personal information which could lead to them creating new identities.”

Bannon urges the public to not follow links on emails and social media in which they claim prizes could be won, it is risky Bannon says.

Mike Bannon joins UpWords with Chris Ermer every Tuesday from 1-2pm, as he shares more consumer protection tips each week.

WBCB’s Keith Noonan contributed to this post.