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 Jun 13, 2023, 2:27 am
  #1171  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: New England
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Hopefully your new complaint points out their ineptitude in their response.

Send their legal department a demand letter saying that you intend to sue them in small claims for their ineptitude (using their response to the CFPB as evidence), but will settle for the replacement/value of the card. You don't actually have to follow through and sue them if you don't want to, but for the amount involved, they may just settle and make you whole as it would cost less than flying/hiring an attorney/representative to your local court to defend them. If you do want to follow through and sue them in small claims, it's not difficult and pretty inexpensive. If you do get a judgement against them though, it may get interesting as far as collecting on it.
diburning is offline  
Old Jun 19, 2023, 12:57 am
  #1172  
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 40
I bought a US Bank VGC today. When I went to prepaidgiftbalance.com to register, it said my account has been locked, so I called and the rep told me my card was compromised. Rep said to go to the bottom of the website where it says card not working and click on that link, but when I clicked on the link and filled out my information, the website said my request cannot be completed and to call, so I told the rep that error message while still on the phone and the rep said maybe it was because the website was under maintenance and try again later.

What should I do?
churns is offline  
Old Jun 19, 2023, 7:16 am
  #1173  
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Posts: 17
Originally Posted by diburning
Hopefully your new complaint points out their ineptitude in their response.

Send their legal department a demand letter saying that you intend to sue them in small claims for their ineptitude (using their response to the CFPB as evidence), but will settle for the replacement/value of the card. You don't actually have to follow through and sue them if you don't want to, but for the amount involved, they may just settle and make you whole as it would cost less than flying/hiring an attorney/representative to your local court to defend them. If you do want to follow through and sue them in small claims, it's not difficult and pretty inexpensive. If you do get a judgement against them though, it may get interesting as far as collecting on it.
Fortunately my case was settled through the CFPB. I didn't need to go to small claims. Small claims seems like a good option. You'll most likely win there because they will not send a representative. A loss in the courts no matter how small may hurt their reputation so they may settle before it gets there.
jcallows is offline  
Old Jun 19, 2023, 9:05 am
  #1174  
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Posts: 17
Originally Posted by churns
I bought a US Bank VGC today. When I went to prepaidgiftbalance.com to register, it said my account has been locked, so I called and the rep told me my card was compromised. Rep said to go to the bottom of the website where it says card not working and click on that link, but when I clicked on the link and filled out my information, the website said my request cannot be completed and to call, so I told the rep that error message while still on the phone and the rep said maybe it was because the website was under maintenance and try again later.

What should I do?
That link on US Bank's website for resolving gift card problems has never worked. That would be too easy for the customers. It's a bogus option probably just there to satisfy some legal requirement.

You'll need to call the number on the back of the card. You'll need to fax a copy of your driver's license, a copy of the store receipt and a copy of the card. Enlarge the images 200% when you fax them. Check back with US Bank in a few days or a week. If they accept the documents, US Bank should unlock the card in a week or so. If they don't, go to the CFPB.

Once the card is unlocked, you can register it and check the balance. If the balance is all there, you're done. If not, you will need to dispute the unauthorized transactions. This will take a few more weeks but US Bank should send you a replacement card. If not, I suppose you could go to the AG or CFPB, but luckily I haven't had to in this case.

Yes, it's a pain but that's the point. US Bank is counting on the likelihood that most people won't bother.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 4:09 pm
  #1175  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: JRF
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Posts: 1,789
Originally Posted by diburning
Hopefully your new complaint points out their ineptitude in their response.

Send their legal department a demand letter saying that you intend to sue them in small claims for their ineptitude (using their response to the CFPB as evidence), but will settle for the replacement/value of the card. You don't actually have to follow through and sue them if you don't want to, but for the amount involved, they may just settle and make you whole as it would cost less than flying/hiring an attorney/representative to your local court to defend them. If you do want to follow through and sue them in small claims, it's not difficult and pretty inexpensive. If you do get a judgement against them though, it may get interesting as far as collecting on it.
Originally Posted by jcallows
Fortunately my case was settled through the CFPB. I didn't need to go to small claims. Small claims seems like a good option. You'll most likely win there because they will not send a representative. A loss in the courts no matter how small may hurt their reputation so they may settle before it gets there.
I actually filed a FDIC complaint after both CFPB ones failed to get an action. The FDIC referred my complaint to the treasury dept's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Not sure off this is a good or bad thing...
msp3 is offline  
Old Jun 20, 2023, 4:51 pm
  #1176  
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 40
Originally Posted by msp3
I actually filed a FDIC complaint after both CFPB ones failed to get an action. The FDIC referred my complaint to the treasury dept's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Not sure off this is a good or bad thing...
Was it Incomm that failed to fix your problem with CFPB? I filed against US Bank with CFPB and hoping it works.
churns is offline  
Old Jun 20, 2023, 5:50 pm
  #1177  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Posts: 1,789
Originally Posted by churns
Was it Incomm that failed to fix your problem with CFPB? I filed against US Bank with CFPB and hoping it works.
InComm with CFPB because it was listed for CFPB, I filed the FDIC complaint against Pathward because they are listed (and not InComm) for FDIC purposes. It matters not to me who pays, but I want compensation from one or the other.
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Old Feb 27, 2024, 6:44 am
  #1178  
soy
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Originally Posted by msp3
InComm with CFPB because it was listed for CFPB, I filed the FDIC complaint against Pathward because they are listed (and not InComm) for FDIC purposes. It matters not to me who pays, but I want compensation from one or the other.
How did this work out?
I have been trying to get my money back on a similar situation for the past 3 months and they are unresponsive.
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Old Feb 27, 2024, 4:47 pm
  #1179  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Originally Posted by soy
How did this work out?
I have been trying to get my money back on a similar situation for the past 3 months and they are unresponsive.
FDIC referred my complaint to the Treasury Department, which took my complaint and forced InComm to activate the card. I was pleasantly surprised to get a letter from the former, and a letter from each of InComm and Pathward acknowledging what has happened and their recourse (activating my card 6+ months after the fact). I also forwarded my CFPB, FDIC, and Treasury complaints as government records to the San Francisco city attorney which has a case against InComm pending.

I honestly think that InComm does not assign anyone with a brain to review any of these, everything is outsourced (wherever else in the world they choose) to the lowest quality bidder where morons pretend to do work instead of actually accomplishing anything as you would imagine. I even drew circles and arrows pointing out which is what and how things match or don't match on the receipt matched to the cards in question (in the Bowtie and Emily style), but it was not until a government agency got involved they would really respond to anything or had anyone with a non-negative IQ look at the request which was very simple and straightforward. I'm sure that in their business model they're happy to leave errors in their favor alone unless forced to rectify them...
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