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 Mar 11, 2016, 12:17 am
  #751  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 1,179
Is there a reason why this fraud keeps happening at Ralphs? Got 4 and once opened I knew they were compromised (lot of glue), but luckily I was able to liquidate the cards within 15 mins of buying these cards.
tsmith12 is offline  
Old Mar 11, 2016, 9:30 am
  #752  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 123
Originally Posted by tsmith12
Is there a reason why this fraud keeps happening at Ralphs? Got 4 and once opened I knew they were compromised (lot of glue), but luckily I was able to liquidate the cards within 15 mins of buying these cards.
Thieves will attack vulnerable cards (issued by US Bank) and locations (Ralphs must be an easy mark to get defiled cards on the racks).
MNHunter is offline  
Old Mar 11, 2016, 1:59 pm
  #753  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,943
Originally Posted by tsmith12
Is there a reason why this fraud keeps happening at Ralphs ?
Kroger is about the only grocer still selling these GCs issued by US Bank.
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Mar 11, 2016, 2:17 pm
  #754  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: LAX, BUR
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Posts: 1,938
If Ralphs/Kroger had more at stake than the activation fee I bet they would keep them with the cashiers or lock them up, like they do with razor blades and other expensive items.
mhdena is offline  
Old Mar 20, 2016, 9:11 pm
  #755  
 
Join Date: May 2015
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Posts: 1,938
Originally Posted by mhdena
This happened to me this week, bought 4 x $500 GSs that were properly activated, called and faxed picture of front, back and activation receipt.

The next day the cards were active, went to RA to load and would not load, had 2 $300 cards that did load. Called US Bank and found the cards had been used at a Daniels Jeweler.

Going to Ralphs and notify them. Is a police report or the CFPB report the next step while I wait for US Bank?

I successfully got about 8 cards from this Ralphs in the past few weeks before this.
I got 4 on 3/8/16, had to send to USB the pictures front, back and receipt. Did so on 3/9/16, also sent same message to CFPB.

Received my 1st $500 replacement GC 3/18/16 with my name on it The other 3 should arrive this week.

Be careful of Ralphs
mhdena is offline  
Old Mar 20, 2016, 11:49 pm
  #756  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Los Angles
Posts: 2,101
Originally Posted by mhdena
I got 4 on 3/8/16, had to send to USB the pictures front, back and receipt. Did so on 3/9/16, also sent same message to CFPB.

Received my 1st $500 replacement GC 3/18/16 with my name on it The other 3 should arrive this week.

Be careful of Ralphs
so u send pictures front, back and receipt and they send the replacement? how do they know it was fraud and u did not buy the MO?(simply curious!)
prasha11 is offline  
Old Mar 22, 2016, 1:38 pm
  #757  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,943
Originally Posted by mhdena
Called US Bank and found the cards had been used at a Daniels Jeweler.
Originally Posted by prasha11
How do they know it was fraud and u did not buy the MO ?(simply curious!)
What MO ? The cards were not used for any MO.
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Mar 22, 2016, 10:15 pm
  #758  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Los Angles
Posts: 2,101
Originally Posted by mhdena
If Ralphs/Kroger had more at stake than the activation fee I bet they would keep them with the cashiers or lock them up, like they do with razor blades and other expensive items.
I have doubts about someone is playing with blank cards on the rack, may be! but I suspect inside job, so many contractors and vendors are involved their employees are hooked up and coordinating
I had a card checked balance and set PIN went to wmt for MO, get debit not available, next day all gone...
prasha11 is offline  
Old Mar 23, 2016, 12:08 pm
  #759  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,943
Originally Posted by prasha11
I had a card, checked balance and set PIN went to wmt for MO, get debit not available
Magnetic strip is tampered and re-encoded to a different 16 digit card account; look at the declines on your receipt.
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Mar 23, 2016, 2:27 pm
  #760  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Los Angles
Posts: 2,101
Originally Posted by Alcibiades
Magnetic strip is tampered and re-encoded to a different 16 digit card account; look at the declines on your receipt.
May be you are right..... yes when I see the wmt receipt the declined card does not match up with the card # (4 digits) on receipt.

I think the problem is more with the 'system' trying to make it fraud resistant is very sensitive and unstable generates all kinds of error codes. There are 'n' reasons why the card dose not work or feels that your card is drained of the loaded value. 'Fraud' is the generic excuse....fraud, security, terrorist and illegal are some of the corporate terms to replace 'shut up' 'no' 'don't argue' 'I will not explain'

I have many drained out cards, and very worried. now I intend to cash out (MO) all that are working, then I have to deal with 'non working' a nightmare....my wmt limit is 2k MO per day!
prasha11 is offline  
Old Mar 23, 2016, 10:49 pm
  #761  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Los Angles
Posts: 2,101
Originally Posted by mhdena

The next day the cards were active, went to RA to load and would not load, had 2 $300 cards that did load. Called US Bank and found the cards had been used at a Daniels Jeweler.
If someone uses your cards (fraud) is US Bank responsible to replace? Does buyers of VGC have fraud protection?

I have 5+ cards drained needs replacement.....I wonder how to ask?
prasha11 is offline  
Old Mar 24, 2016, 6:40 am
  #762  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,943
Originally Posted by prasha11
I think the problem is more with the 'system' trying to make it fraud resistant is very sensitive and unstable generates all kinds of error codes.
I only get Error codes when there is a problem.
Not enough money, drained. Or magnetic strip is re-encoded to another 16 digit card number that is dead/un-activated/invalid/etc.
Alcibiades is offline  
Old Mar 24, 2016, 11:22 am
  #763  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 71
Originally Posted by prasha11
If someone uses your cards (fraud) is US Bank responsible to replace? Does buyers of VGC have fraud protection?

I have 5+ cards drained needs replacement.....I wonder how to ask?
Call the number on the back of vgc and file a dispute.
svsfan is offline  
Old Mar 26, 2016, 1:21 am
  #764  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Los Angles
Posts: 2,101
Originally Posted by Alcibiades
I only get Error codes when there is a problem.
Not enough money, drained. Or magnetic strip is re-encoded to another 16 digit card number that is dead/un-activated/invalid/etc.
have u had your card drained? got replaced?

have u had magnetic strip issues, how was resolved?

Any one buying the US bank visa debit cards?
prasha11 is offline  
Old Mar 27, 2016, 4:22 pm
  #765  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Programs: DL DM-1MM HH Diamond
Posts: 361
Originally Posted by prasha11
have u had your card drained? got replaced?

have u had magnetic strip issues, how was resolved?

Any one buying the US bank visa debit cards?
Yes

Yes. USB sent a new card, eventually.

Yes

I would suggest calling Kroger at the number on your receipt I have heard they are faster at resolutions than USB.
2B or back in coach is offline  

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