Gift Card Scam Alert

Old Feb 11, 20, 6:26 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2017
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Gift Card Scam Alert

After not being able to decide where to post information about my experience yesterday, I figured it would get most views by starting a new thread. Well, I like many received the email about discounted $100 gebits through the Justforyou program yesterday and made my way to the local Tom Thumb. I have Amex Gold cards so my plan was to buy 4x $500 VGC and on a separate tansacction, 2 x $100 VGC to take advantage of the $15 rebate. As always, I removed the backing to reveal the bar code on each VGC and ran my fingernail across the look for an elevated barcode. It felt a little faint but I had a lot of things on my mind and distracted at the time.At checkout, the cashier actually made a concerted effort to evaluate bar codes and found that the first barcode was fake. It had a paper barcode inserted in the box covering the original one. the paper was thin enough so that the original barcode could be readily felt below. long story short, we went through 9 $500 VGC to get 4 good ones that I could buy. Also, went through 5 $100 VGC to find 2 good ones. The store location is Tom Thumb on Oak Lawn, Dallas Texas.
I have read about this but never thought I would actually see them. Just a tip, if you are distracted and don't have a diligent CSR, it can happen to you regardless of knowledge level. Always be on guard, I thought I was.
edb55 is offline  
Old Feb 11, 20, 7:08 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Thanks for posting; I never knew of this scam.

In the store where you experienced this, I would have asked them to open a sealed stack of GCs (they're stored within the gift card rack itself). Too many bad apples in that bunch.
danpeake is offline  
Old Feb 11, 20, 8:48 am
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Which issuer? My Safeway carries both Meta and Sunrise.
tuphat is offline  
Old Feb 11, 20, 4:23 pm
  #4  
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The issuer is MetaBank as that is all that I buy. The ones I took were off the rack and as soon as the first "bad" one was found, we opened up the back of others to make sure the ones I bought were not compromised. I was doing this while I had a group of people behind me in line so I was not interested being difficult as long as we found "good" cards I could buy. I am quite sure they went through their inventory to locate problem card packages. I plant to return there tomorrow because I live just around the corner.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 5:45 pm
  #5  
ogg
 
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Um, I don't get it. If a miscreant is able to open the package and close it without that being noticed, why bother to put a fake bar code on top of the real one? If the fake bar code is scanned, funds are loaded to that card. If the real bar code is scanned, funds are loaded to the card in the package. But if you've opened the package, you know the number of the card in the package and can drain it as soon as it is loaded in the usual way. Why bother with the noticeable fake bar code, which immediately gives the scheme away?
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Old Feb 11, 20, 6:42 pm
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Originally Posted by ogg View Post
Um, I don't get it. If a miscreant is able to open the package and close it without that being noticed, why bother to put a fake bar code on top of the real one? If the fake bar code is scanned, funds are loaded to that card. If the real bar code is scanned, funds are loaded to the card in the package. But if you've opened the package, you know the number of the card in the package and can drain it as soon as it is loaded in the usual way. Why bother with the noticeable fake bar code, which immediately gives the scheme away?
The way I understand this scam. The fake bar code is tied to an actual card the scammer has. As soon as its activated the scammer has the actual card activated and full access to the funds. The buyer gets bupkis.
joemeckler is offline  
Old Feb 11, 20, 6:46 pm
  #7  
ogg
 
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Originally Posted by joemeckler View Post
The way I understand this scam. The fake bar code is tied to an actual card the scammer has. As soon as its activated the scammer has the actual card activated and full access to the funds. The buyer gets bupkis.
Sure. But as soon as the buyer opens he package, s/he'll know the scam. The fake barcode will yield he actual card the scammer has and can be cancelled at once. If the scammer simply cloned the real card when he opened the package--or even just copied down the card number/exp/CRC--he could spend the funds too as soon as the card was loaded, without anything in the package being changed to tip off the buyer there was something wrong. That could give the scammer a much longer time to cash out.
ogg is offline  
Old Feb 11, 20, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by ogg View Post
Sure. But as soon as the buyer opens he package, s/he'll know the scam. The fake barcode will yield he actual card the scammer has and can be cancelled at once. If the scammer simply cloned the real card when he opened the package--or even just copied down the card number/exp/CRC--he could spend the funds too as soon as the card was loaded, without anything in the package being changed to tip off the buyer there was something wrong. That could give the scammer a much longer time to cash out.
OK. But they might be thinking it's for someone buying for its intended purpose. A gift for someone else. In that case, the buyer may not open the package immediately and leave that for the intended recipient.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 7:03 pm
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Originally Posted by joemeckler View Post
OK. But they might be thinking it's for someone buying for its intended purpose. A gift for someone else. In that case, the buyer may not open the package immediately and leave that for the intended recipient.
You actually mean that people buy these cards for gifts? Weird.
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Steve in Olympia is offline  
Old Feb 12, 20, 10:51 am
  #10  
ogg
 
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Originally Posted by joemeckler View Post
OK. But they might be thinking it's for someone buying for its intended purpose. A gift for someone else. In that case, the buyer may not open the package immediately and leave that for the intended recipient.
My point was that you know you've got a bad card as soon as you open the package or even look hard at the revealed bar code when the strip is torn off. If you don't alter the bar code, you only find out the card is bad when you try to use it. Doesn't matter whether it's given as a gift or not or how long it sits around. Odds are these scam cards are drained within hours of the time they've been loaded.
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Old Feb 12, 20, 11:52 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by joemeckler View Post
The way I understand this scam. The fake bar code is tied to an actual card the scammer has. As soon as its activated the scammer has the actual card activated and full access to the funds. The buyer gets bupkis.
Exactly, this is how the scam works and it is well documented. Never thought I would actually run into it, but better always be aware of the scam. I for one don't want to have to go through the hassle of trying to recover my funds.
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