Traveling with large quantity of GCs

Old Oct 23, 19, 3:46 pm
  #1  
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Traveling with large quantity of GCs

Interested in best practices commentary from MS friends on subject of traveling while "in possession" of large quantity of purchased GCs.

For sake of discussion, let's say $50-75k face value and you're traveling by air and rental car. Let's also say that, as of right now, all cards are in original packaging, with receipts and that no default PIN setting have been changed.

P.S. Although civil forfeiture is an obvious risk (and despicable practice), respectfully suggest minimizing extended rants on that subject per se.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 5:07 pm
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What is the point of doing this? You obviously a risk taker. What happens if you get stopped by the traffic cop or airport police for whatever reason? You can be stopped and questioned for a long time. What do you get to explain to them??
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Old Oct 23, 19, 6:28 pm
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Old Oct 23, 19, 8:07 pm
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Keep your receipts, put them in a bag that you carry on, done and done. Don't see the problem?
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Old Oct 23, 19, 9:00 pm
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If you are caught with that many cards, it will be definitely suspicious, the onus would be upon you to prove them that you gathered them legally.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 9:06 pm
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You're just asking for a roadside stop with mandatory blood draws, and arrest if you're the "am I under arrest or am I free to go" type...
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Old Oct 24, 19, 6:48 am
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Let's take the tin foil off our heads people. I've been questioned about my stack of GCs twice. Both times they asked what they were, I said prepaid debit cards, they gave me a funny look and swabbed them, machine beeped, I took my stuff and left. I don't travel with anything but the cards in a big rubber band or two. I almost always have 15k or more on me as I travel 2-3 times per month and don't have a safe place to hide them at home. I would never travel across international boarders with them because that would just be asking for trouble. I wouldn't even know whether or not declaring them would be more or less likely to get them taken.

If you have a safe place to put them in your residence then I would just leave them there. If you need to liquidate on the road then you may want to reconsider the volume that you are doing right before travelling.

An interesting thing that I have always considered is whether or not I would go after them in an emergency exit scenario. Any more I just keep them on my person so that I can do the proper thing and just exit the plane.
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Old Oct 24, 19, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Melanion90 View Post
... emergency exit scenario.
Thanks, never thought of that, let's hope it remains hypothetical.
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Old Oct 24, 19, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by tuphat View Post
Interested in best practices commentary from MS friends on subject of traveling while "in possession" of large quantity of purchased GCs.

For sake of discussion, let's say $50-75k face value and you're traveling by air and rental car. Let's also say that, as of right now, all cards are in original packaging, with receipts and that no default PIN setting have been changed.

P.S. Although civil forfeiture is an obvious risk (and despicable practice), respectfully suggest minimizing extended rants on that subject per se.
Ditch the packaging unless there's a reason to hold onto it - just creates clutter and takes up space. If you're truly concerned about them being taken by law enforcement or anyone else, take pics of the cards with cvv written on front of them (to report lost or liquidate online).

I've gone through airport security with 50k+ - hit or miss as to whether it sets off the scanners. Break into smaller bundles and multiple bags if you don't want to have to explain what seems to be a crazy "hobby".
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Old Oct 24, 19, 5:55 pm
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All I can think of is to take your phone and make a video of all the card numbers and the receipt. That way if they get lost or stolen, you can call to get them replaced (hopefully). A video is probably faster than taking individual photos.
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Old Oct 25, 19, 11:59 am
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Travelling by car, I would always state "I do not consent to searches". In a typical roadside stop, the odds are high that if they ask they just want an easy fishing expedition, and have no intention of calling out the dogs so to speak, and all the rigamole of a warranted search.

If they search anyway, you are on much firmer legal footing.
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Old Oct 26, 19, 9:44 pm
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I often buy $50K or more when I'm in Las Vegas, and bring them home. Have never had an issue except see below. I don't worry much about it either. If I were doing something wrong, Simon wouldn't be selling them to me.

A couple months ago I was stopped at the border driving into Canada, for no discernable reason except maybe that the immigration officer had a bug up his .... I was told to park the car and go inside, and I told the officer inside about the GC's. He talked to someone else and came back and told me they weren't reportable.

I've never had the cards set off an airport scanner. Back when the limits were lower, I would frequently come home with 80-100 cards.
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Old Oct 29, 19, 3:44 am
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When entering the US from abroad you are required to declare if you are carrying cash or cash equivalents of more than $10,000. It is not illegal to have more than $10k, you just have to report it otherwise they can confiscate.
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Old Oct 29, 19, 6:50 am
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Originally Posted by drminn View Post
When entering the US from abroad you are required to declare if you are carrying cash or cash equivalents of more than $10,000. It is not illegal to have more than $10k, you just have to report it otherwise they can confiscate.
I thought about that CBP requirement thinking as you did. However, a close review of the definition of "cash equivalents" does not include GCs.
From this article, the following is seen:
"The U.S. Customs office defines this as cash, stocks, bonds, money orders, personal or cashier's checks, coins and cash."

So it appears that carrying a piece of plastic, that actually is only good in the USA to begin with, across borders appears to be kosher without declaring it.
(Please be advised, I am not a lawyer and don't currently reside in a HIE, so take this as a layman doing basic research. If someone knows better, have at it )
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Old Oct 29, 19, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
I thought about that CBP requirement thinking as you did. However, a close review of the definition of "cash equivalents" does not include GCs.
From this article, the following is seen:
"The U.S. Customs office defines this as cash, stocks, bonds, money orders, personal or cashier's checks, coins and cash."

So it appears that carrying a piece of plastic, that actually is only good in the USA to begin with, across borders appears to be kosher without declaring it.
(Please be advised, I am not a lawyer and don't currently reside in a HIE, so take this as a layman doing basic research. If someone knows better, have at it )
In my experience, they do actually work outside of the US. I have used them in Canada a few times, and made an online payment in Euros once as another test. The exchange rate for the pending transaction was slightly lower than what actually posted, so I ended up with a negative balance of a few cents. Maybe that's why they discourage it.

Not the case with MGC/VGC from my experience, but most other gift cards say something like "treat this card like cash" so I could see a problem arising from having a lot of gift cards with the "wrong" officer.

Last edited by Bigzamboni; Oct 31, 19 at 3:07 am
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