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
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Gift Card Fraud !!!

Old Jul 1, 2014, 7:39 pm
  #61  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 51
I had the same problem few days back. Giftcard mall put the money back in the same card. I use the card and took all the money as soon as I got it. I wounder why they put the money back in the same card !!!

Hemet Fraud Heaven !!!
Sam2014 is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 7:40 pm
  #62  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,936
Originally Posted by flyer31
Soledad CA which is about 275 miles away.
Hope it helps
not far from the state prison, I would imagine
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 7:49 pm
  #63  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Iowa
Posts: 122
Originally Posted by Sam2014
Giftcard mall put the money back in the same card.
Are you serious? That sounds exceedingly stupid. On the other hand, once the card is identified loaded and then spent, it's no doubt totally removed from the fraudster's monitoring scripts. I suppose that's a safe gamble but not one I would expect a legitimate company to make. I mean unless you told GCM you were going to buy a MO right away (??), for all they know you were going to hold onto the card and use it for small stuff for months.

Of course if any of the crooks are reading this, they'll be updating their software with all haste.
airstairfear is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 8:18 pm
  #64  
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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That was not the funny thing all this happened because the card was not working initially before the fraud. I have to use other means to take the money from the card.
Sam2014 is offline  
Old Jul 1, 2014, 10:49 pm
  #65  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,513
Originally Posted by Sam2014
That was not the funny thing all this happened because the card was not working initially before the fraud. I have to use other means to take the money from the card.
Are you saying like the magnetic stripe was warped so that you wouldn't be able to use it at all?
ericdabbs is offline  
Old Jul 2, 2014, 4:49 am
  #66  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 148
Was there any issue with the packaging at all?
angrypenguin is offline  
Old Jul 2, 2014, 7:42 am
  #67  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: LAX
Posts: 2,851
Awhile back, I bought a Gift card in the amount of $100. NO sign of tempering of package. Waited for 3 days to pay for utility bill. Told it wouldn't go through only to find out that $99.50 was used by fraudster at a Wally 60 miles from home the day after I bought the gift card.

This is Vons in Southern CA
metoo is offline  
Old Jul 2, 2014, 7:52 am
  #68  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 1,179
Originally Posted by metoo
Awhile back, I bought a Gift card in the amount of $100. NO sign of tempering of package. Waited for 3 days to pay for utility bill. Told it wouldn't go through only to find out that $99.50 was used by fraudster at a Wally 60 miles from home the day after I bought the gift card.

This is Vons in Southern CA

Scary. I try to liquidate within a few hours of buying any sort of GCs, but it's still hard for me to "spot" a tampered card
tsmith12 is offline  
Old Jul 2, 2014, 10:07 am
  #69  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,513
Originally Posted by metoo
Awhile back, I bought a Gift card in the amount of $100. NO sign of tempering of package. Waited for 3 days to pay for utility bill. Told it wouldn't go through only to find out that $99.50 was used by fraudster at a Wally 60 miles from home the day after I bought the gift card.

This is Vons in Southern CA
Interesting....I would think the minimum of tampering is the sticker barcode label but I have looked at the packaging of the MB GCs and its perforated on the bottom so its hard to make a slit in the packaging to get access to the card without noticing.
ericdabbs is offline  
Old Jul 10, 2014, 11:08 am
  #70  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by Alcibiades
With what method would they be able to charge you ?
I would imagine a deduction after the card is loaded? Maybe they typically charge someone to mail out the new card? Don't know since I've never kept one beyond a trip to see Kate.

Pretty sure I'm done with this since it just happened again with another card. Fool me once and all...
mush237 is offline  
Old Jul 10, 2014, 11:42 am
  #71  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,936
No charge even though I reported a tampered card as lost and not stolen since the full balance was still on it when I reported it as lost.
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Jul 10, 2014, 12:04 pm
  #72  
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Note to self: Do not buy any GCs while traveling to/through CA (or GA).
rylan is offline  
Old Jul 10, 2014, 1:39 pm
  #73  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,060
Originally Posted by rylan
Note to self: Do not buy any GCs while traveling to/through CA (or GA).
Or buy and dump like I did. I was in NM and within an hour+, three times ovr three days, I bought and dumped 10K+ with no probs.

All depends on how much time u want to spend on vacation, or if ur SO is into the game as well!
raccah is offline  
Old Jul 10, 2014, 2:07 pm
  #74  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Originally Posted by rylan
Note to self: Do not buy any GCs while traveling to/through CA (or GA).
I don't think this protects you necessarily. I recently purchased a US Bank MC GC and didn't get around to unloading before a short trip. When I returned I found that someone had used the gap to auth the card, then shortly after that made an expedia purchase. The packaging did not appear to be tampered with at all, fortunately, I had registered this particular card so I could use it to pay Citi, so the expedia charge did not go through. I didn't hesitate for a second and drained on evolve.
sameoldme is offline  
Old Jul 10, 2014, 3:03 pm
  #75  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 186
FWIW, I've bought tons of gift cards in CA and haven't run into any fraud problems yet. There's always a first time though...
shenxing is offline  

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