Old Apr 13, 2015, 12:55 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: phant0m
************Gift Card Fraud Alert************

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

How can I protect myself?

1) Do not buy a card that has been opened or looks tampered with. Inspect all packaging thoroughly before purchasing. Many posters say that the packaging looks pristine, but the glue seems excessive once opened. Open the package to inspect the glue before you pay for it, if the cashier allows that.

2) Use the card quickly. The card has no value until YOU add money. If you spend your funds before the fraudster figures out that it's loaded, you win. Or at least register your card. That might give you another layer of security but beware it might NOT be bulletproof.

3) Keep your receipts and packaging until your card is liquidated. You will need the receipt to make a claim.

I'll add a few more from the school of hard knocks (also now known as the school of the paranoid MSer)....

4) If it's the only card of its type left on the rack, should you buy it or not? Consider: did the fraudster remove all the other cards so some sucker would quickly come along quickly and buy the card he has placed there purposefully?

5) A corollary to #4: Should you buy the top card in a stack of cards, or dig deeper and pick out one a distance from the top? Did the fraudster put the card he wants some sucker to buy at the top of the stack so it would sell quickly and he could do his evil deed?

6) Open card packages soon after purchase. Don't wait a few days. If anything looks amiss (too much glue inside the pack, too little glue inside, glue in the wrong location, mag stripe doesn't look right, some card numbers illegible), call the 800 number on the back of the card immediately to report it and ask about a replacement.



Each link of Gift Card MS:

1. Gift Card issuer: Vanilla, Metabank, US Bank, Green Dot etc. There can be data hack. It is rare.
2. GC Merchant: grocery and drug stores. Online GC sellers (Simon Mall, Gift Card Mall etc.). The data hack is possible, but rare.
3. Shipping: GCs can be stolen. But this is not fraud.
4. GC Cash Out: Walmart, Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS etc. This is very rare.

For unsold GCs with bar code exposed, the store is required to destroy the GCs. Fraud can happen when the unsuspecting store staff return the unsold GCs back to the shelf. But it is very rare to have a batch of GCs all tampered and returned to the store shelf.

Here is a web site with information about gift card fraud:

http://www.tripwire.com/state-of-sec...-so-lucrative/



Here are some stores where FT members have experienced fraud:

List of Stores to avoid or be Alert:
(1) Reported by IWOL in So Cal:
VONS => Ventura Blvd & Reseda

Reported by Lovenola:

Ralph's in Downey at 9200 Lakewood Blvd.

Ralph's in Pasadena at 211 E. Foothill Blvd.

Ralph's in Monrovia at 1193 Huntington Dr.

3) Reported by domino007

Ralphs in 13321 Jamboree Rd, Tustin

Ralphs in Irvine on Alton, Walnut and Irvine Blvd

Reported by DaveInLA:
Ralphs in Brea- 305 W Imperial Hwy. VGC was purchased in 12/2014.

Reported by 46sky:
Ralphs in Culver City on Venice Blvd - VGC purchased 2/2015.

Reported by Chrisflyer66:
Ralphs in San Diego on Sports Arena - VGCs purchased in 2014-2015.

Ralph's - 1435 W Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92868 - Purchased 12/2019

Seems to me that only People in so.Cal are reporting
Print Wikipost

Gift Card Fraud !!!

Old Jun 27, 2014, 12:25 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: HNL
Posts: 55
Originally Posted by rylan

EDIT: Why does this stuff always seem to occur in CA or around Atlanta?
Aren't parts of SoCal and Georgia two huge Meth centers? Maybe dealers are taking gift cards now.
Navybones is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 1:07 pm
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: LAX
Programs: Marriott Plat, AA Plat
Posts: 26
I had 2 of these cards from Vons last year. The fund is gone as soon as the machine activate it. You should open it in front of the Cashier before you pay. And yes, it happened in So Cal. Blackhawk will send you a replacement after you contact them, don't go back to the store. They can't help.
ipadtoday is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 1:08 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 66
Don't blame California, it's Hemet. How that person(s) continues to get away with it is beyond me. FBI, local PD: review video tape at the RA in Hemet and you will be able to identify at least one person involved in this.

They've gotta be making thousands a month.
Tylt33 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 1:17 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Programs: AA, SPG, MR, UR, Cash Back!
Posts: 606
Interesting story, thanks for sharing!
Fuerza is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 3:18 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SAN
Programs: DL PM
Posts: 428
Originally Posted by vinhboy
What the hell... Why is the Hemet, CA police department and drug stores not on top of this problem?

It seems like a lot of the stories I read about fraud around the net always end up in Hemeth, CA.
I've heard they're working on updating the city name.
BHArt is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 3:56 pm
  #36  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,943
Originally Posted by Navybones
Aren't parts of SoCal and Georgia two huge Meth centers ?
Yes, Hemet and the surrounding desert communities. Hemet can be a bit ghetto. A group set up bombs at a police substation a few years ago.
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 7:14 pm
  #37  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,519
Originally Posted by Sam2014
The fraud purchase was done in a different store in an nearby city about 50 miles from the store I purchased the gift card.

I went back to the store I purchased the gift card, talk to the manger and he opened some of them in the same row and had the same problem. There was something on the magnetic strip. He took of all the variable ones from the rack.
I don't want this crooks taking advantage of more victims.
Good guy Sam on stopping further fraud to others!!! Was there anything unique about the packaging that it looked like it was tampered from not only your GC but the ones you said opened with the store manager? Usually crooks would have to slit a part of the packaging that isn't obvious to be able to get to the GC.
ericdabbs is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 8:17 pm
  #38  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: PHL
Posts: 930
Thank you for reporting. This actually makes me happy when a grocery store keeps the GCs behind the register.
commdiver is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 9:31 pm
  #39  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 506
I say we have a FT meetup at the Hemet RA and get to the bottom of this ourselves.
canyoncar is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 9:59 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: PHL
Posts: 930
Originally Posted by canyoncar
I say we have a FT meetup at the Hemet RA and get to the bottom of this ourselves.
Can I bring my torch and pitchfork? Can we stop by CVS on the way?
commdiver is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2014, 10:48 pm
  #41  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 140
Originally Posted by canyoncar
I say we have a FT meetup at the Hemet RA and get to the bottom of this ourselves.
I agree. Someone go buy a GC and some of us make our rounds at RA btwn the time of midnight and sunset. That ....... will surely take a pitch fork up the a..
TheGreatMongo is offline  
Old Jun 28, 2014, 8:11 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,943
Originally Posted by Sam2014
I should have changed the PIN
Changing the PIN does not help b/c the PIN can be changed by anyone who knows the card information.

One does not need to know the PIN to change the PIN.
i.e. even if you change the PIN, anyone can call and change it to whatever they want without needing to know the PIN you just changed it to.
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Jun 28, 2014, 8:15 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,519
Originally Posted by canyoncar
I say we have a FT meetup at the Hemet RA and get to the bottom of this ourselves.
Yes and find the fraudster and give the fraudster a taste of his own medicine by a thousand gift card cuts!! haha I got some gift cards to grind!!
ericdabbs is offline  
Old Jun 28, 2014, 9:12 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 506
Originally Posted by ericdabbs
Yes and find the fraudster and give the fraudster a taste of his own medicine by a thousand gift card cuts!! haha I got some gift cards to grind!!
Anybody in here able to design a semiautomatic cannon that fires VRs and GCs?
canyoncar is offline  
Old Jun 28, 2014, 9:19 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Midwest
Programs: Southwest CP, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Platinum, Club Carlson Gold
Posts: 69
Took a daytrip to Madison, WI today. Stopped in ..... and liquidated the Vanilla GCs I've been holding for a week. Was about to buy some MBGCs but noticed one of the packages had its barcode exposed. I noped it away from that rack and headed home.

Last edited by WhoGoesThere; Jun 28, 2014 at 10:35 pm
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