We all handle a lot of gift cards and we sometimes hear about stories where people try to use a gift card and find out that the balance is $0.00 instead of $200 or $500. We’ve covered such stories in the past but it looks like there’s new scams that are surfacing.
Cashiers pocketing gift cards
This happened to a friend of mine while we were both purchasing $200 Visa gift cards at Staples in New York. We were at two different cashiers next to each other. I purchased my card without any problems. He had to go and pick up another gift card, since one of the gift cards he had picked up, had a ripped off tab in the back. The cashier proceeded with the scanning, he swiped his credit card, signed and we left.
The next day, when he was trying to load the cards at Walmart, one of the Visa gift cards didn’t work. He called the number in the back and was told that the card was never activated. He checked the receipt, and that gift card was the only one that didn’t match any of the numbers in the receipt.
We went back to the Staples together. Talked to a manager and he started looking through the remaining Visa gift cards to look for the number that was on the receipt. The gift card wasn’t in the rack or in the back where they have the items that are to be restocked.
Remember the card with the ripped off tab? The cashier said she just threw it in the basket they had for items that people bring to the register, but don’t purchase. But it was nowhere to be found. I’m positive that the cashier pocketed the $200 through that gift card, and I think the manager realized it too. He was extremely helpful. He stayed on the phone for 15-20 minutes until he resolved the issue and gave my friend a new $200 Visa gift card.
Best way to avoid such problems? Always check your receipt and make sure that all numbers match.
Card number is scratched off
Milestomemories posted today about a scam where the packaging seems intact but 4 digits on the gift card are scratched off and the magnetic strip is cleaned of any data. This happened in Las Vegas. There were a few cards with the same 4 digits scratched off, so ir looks like these cards are packaged like that before leaving the factory. Or maybe the criminal that is stealing the funds, is very crafty and able to re-close the packaging perfectly.
The best way to avoid this type of scam is to open the packaging and inspect the git cards as soon as possible, maybe even before paying or leaving the store. That is a bit of a hassle, but you should try doing this as soon as possible. If you don’t want to hold up the line, you can just step aside.