NEW YORK — Stolen credit cards are now being used to purchase gift cards that are then sold, often online, according to card security and retail experts and media reports.

According to an ABC News report, thieves use a stolen credit card number to buy a gift card online, and then sell it to the highest bidder at an online auction Web site or for a set discount at a gift-card exchange Web site.

The ruse helps crooks make use of pilfered credit card numbers before the victim has a chance to deactivate the account. The scam extends the life of credit card fraud, experts said.

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