Where do your lost gift cards in the mail go?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) -- It's the holiday season and many of us send gift cards in the mail to loved ones so they can eat at their favorite restaurant or shop at their favorite store, but what if your gift card never arrived in the mail, your first instinct may be to assume that it was stolen.

While some gift cards do get stolen, a large number of them that come up missing get lost at the postal distribution center and the reason why, may or may not surprise you.

"During the processing of the cards, the machine may bend the envelope so much that the gift card is ejected while it is being processed, the envelope goes one continues down for delivery and the gift card is stuck inside the machine," said Tony Robinson, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

Come January every year, a pile could fill up an entire conference table, but there are three tips that you can follow to avoid your gift card from being lost in the mail.

"Use envelopes that are good and sturdy and not thin and tape the gift card to the greeting card," Robinson said.

"Second, the greeting card itself, ensure that it has an address on it, we can deliver that if it is ejected out of the greeting card and third never send the receipt with the gift card along with the greeting card."

You may wonder where all that money in gift cards go if they are unclaimed or undelivered, the U.S. Postal Service just destroys them.

If your gift cards get lost in the mail or might be stolen, and you want to see if it has been found you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS.

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