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 28, 2014, 9:33 pm
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Iowa
Posts: 122
Originally Posted by WhoGoesThere
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.
If it's just the top 1 or 2, and it's obvious rather than cleverly done, I never think fraud. For me that's a pretty good indication that it's cash/debit only at the store, as the silly cashiers sometimes hang them back up after the purchase fails. I have also seen the barcode flaps neatly (but obviously) taped back closed. In every case I found so far, the store did not take credit cards for that product.
airstairfear is offline  
Old Jun 28, 2014, 10:20 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: MSP
Programs: AA, DL, AS
Posts: 183
Originally Posted by airstairfear
Not true. This isn't like trying to buy currency paper or something. They just have to get off their lazy butts and make some phone calls. If you play along like you're going to do a mass promo card mailing for your (fake) store, you can even get free samples and pick out the closest feel. That is, if you cared that much; anything is better than glue sticks. Clowns. For the amount of money they're stealing, it's worth taking a little extra time and doing it right. Does no one take pride in their work anymore?
If they're stealing enough money, I'm perfectly willing to bet that law enforcement would be willing to call every supplier to find out if anyone shipped that special tack to the area. That would also be evidence at the trial. What would really be stupid is leaving fingerprints.
ceverett is offline  
Old Jun 28, 2014, 10:59 pm
  #48  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Programs: UR, MR, United, SPG
Posts: 78
Originally Posted by airstairfear
If it's just the top 1 or 2, and it's obvious rather than cleverly done, I never think fraud. For me that's a pretty good indication that it's cash/debit only at the store, as the silly cashiers sometimes hang them back up after the purchase fails. I have also seen the barcode flaps neatly (but obviously) taped back closed. In every case I found so far, the store did not take credit cards for that product.
I agree with this, since it literally happened to me yesterday. Cashier tore the packages to scan barcodes, and when I tried to pay with CC I was not allowed. They just hung the GCs back onto the racks after cancelling the transaction.

I guess my question is, can a fraudster gain enough information about the GC simply from the barcode? I would think not, since the actual GC card number is not associated with the barcode? But maybe there is a way...
SumGai88 is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2014, 5:53 am
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Iowa
Posts: 122
Originally Posted by SumGai88
I guess my question is, can a fraudster gain enough information about the GC simply from the barcode?
He wouldn't have to. Once the panel is exposed all he has to do is put a barcode sticker over the top of the existing barcode so a different one is activated when the victim pays for it. The crook would already have the information for this other card, and possibly even the legit physical card in his possession. It's crude, and I don't know if they'd actually bother with such methods, but it's a very good reason for stores not to reshelve the opened cards.
airstairfear is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2014, 6:25 am
  #50  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 97
Originally Posted by Navybones
Aren't parts of SoCal and Georgia two huge Meth centers? Maybe dealers are taking gift cards now.
In some circles reload packs have taken the place of currency.
Actually a growing numbers of dealers and gangs are turning to card and other financial fraud because it is safer than dealing.
AnalystGuy is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2014, 6:57 am
  #51  
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 639
Originally Posted by AnalystGuy
In some circles reload packs have taken the place of currency.
Actually a growing numbers of dealers and gangs are turning to card and other financial fraud because it is safer than dealing.
I guess as the wheel turns MS will become more dangerous than dealing and we will have a new forum:

Manufactured Drug Dealing
member7777 is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2014, 7:51 am
  #52  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,273
Originally Posted by member7777
I guess as the wheel turns MS will become more dangerous than dealing and we will have a new forum:

Manufactured Drug Dealing
I better buy some aspirin and talc stock, pronto!

Seriously--the packages say don't buy if the bar code is exposed.
ZzzzX is offline  
Old Jun 30, 2014, 12:28 am
  #53  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 148
Yikes, thanks for posting OP. I've been buying OVs and was just about to switch to these; being in SoCal I guess I'll have to remain petty diligent...
angrypenguin is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 5:43 pm
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 723
Fraud help

I purchased a 500$ VGC at vons on 6/28. Today I tried to load it on AP, but the card was declined. I checked the balance online and 499.90 was withdrawn from my card at a food4less store.
I called giftcardmall and complained. I was told to download the dispute form and dispute the transaction.
Anyone has been in any similar situation, please share your experience with me.
flyer31 is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 6:01 pm
  #55  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 908
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manuf...ard-fraud.html
sosamo is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 6:01 pm
  #56  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 14
Going through it now with them. On the phone with useless rep. Charges from more than a week ago "still haven't been received by the merchant" so I have to call back.

In the meantime I have to fax (yes it is the year 2014 and they require a FAX!) a bunch of information to get a new card which they MAY not charge me for since they old one was compromised. LUCKY ME!
mush237 is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 6:02 pm
  #57  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 908
Please let us know which Vons location, Food4Less location,
etc.
sosamo is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 6:05 pm
  #58  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,943
Originally Posted by mush237
to get a new card which they MAY not charge me for since they old one was compromised
With what method would they be able to charge you ?
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 6:11 pm
  #59  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Iowa
Posts: 122
There is a food4less about 16 miles away from Hemet, CA. If that's the one I'll just die.

So it seems the fraudsters purchased a MO or more cards. Wasn't someone in another thread just saying that fraudsters don't compete with MSers?
airstairfear is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 6:54 pm
  #60  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 723
Originally Posted by sosamo
Please let us know which Vons location, Food4Less location,
etc.
Purchased at Vons in West Los Angeles and cashed out at Food4less in Soledad CA which is about 275 miles away.
Hope it helps.
flyer31 is offline  

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