Scammers are reportedly targeting gift cards with elaborate schemes draining customers of money and creating unwanted chaos during the holiday season.
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And a victim of so-called “card draining” — the current scam authorities are warning about — spoke to the outlet about her own ordeal, which nearly cost her $200.
Suzanne Gdovic told “Fox & Friends First” Monday she had purchased a Target gift card for $200 to give to a friend. At the time of purchase, she had no idea scammers had already compromised the card.
When the recipient went to use the gift card to buy items for a baby, there were no funds left on it.
“She was told there was a zero balance on the card and was also told that the gift card was assigned to another person’s account,” Gdovic said. “There was no money there for her to use for all of the things that she was buying for the new baby.”
Scammers reportedly took information from the gift card and siphoned off the money.
Gdovic spoke to a store manager, who clued her in on the scam. People with nefarious goals will grab the card information by scratching off the silver lining concealing the protective security code. Once they have the code, they will return the silver lining and return the card to store shelves.
Then, they can use the code to track when people add money to the card. That money is then strategically taken and used by the scammers.
Gdovic was able to get her money back, but she recommends people take photos of all receipts and cards to make sure there’s no problems if and when they become victims of the scheme.
This isn’t the only gift card scam, though, as the Pinole Police Department in California recently recorded a video explaining a similar way people are stealing money.
“Scammers are using various tactics to trick people into purchasing gift cards that have the security code cut off, which would allow them to use your money,” the department said in a Facebook statement.
Patrol Sergeant Barry Duggan then showed people in a video how scammers are cutting off the top of gift cards and then sealing them back up. Once returned to the stores and placed back on shelves, thieves gain access to any funds potentially added to these now-defunct cards.
“Somebody was taking all these cards from the store … taking them home,” Duggan said, noting the envelopes would be heated up, the cards removed and cut, and then placed back inside.
The officer recommended people feel the outside envelopes to ensure a full gift card is inside before purchasing, or, with the store’s permission, open the envelopes as they check out to ensure everything is intact.
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