Yesterday in my news roundup I included a link to Miles to Memories. It was an article regarding possible fraud on Visa gift cards purchased at Kroger. We hear stories like these from time to time, and we usually see one of the common reasons for the issue. But this particular case seems crazier that other scam methods we have come across in the past.
A follow up post at Miles to Memories details the elaborate scheme that’s being used.
Just to recap the issue, it has to do with Visa gift cards that he purchased at Kroger during the 4x points promotion. The person who purchased them, found out that the cards were zeroed out as soon as he got home. He called the Visa gift card providers they said the cards were never activated. And obviously they suggested an easy fix. Go back to Kroger and get a refund since the cards were never activated.
Kroger Visa Gift Card Scam
But the strange thing is that the receipts showed that the Visa credit cards were indeed activated. So how can that be? Well, that why this scheme is crazy. The scammers are somehow opening the packages and covering the activation barcode of the gift cards with one that they printed themselves. So when the pull tab is removed they scan this paper bar code that was added by the scammers, instead the gift cards own barcode. That activates a card the scammers have in their possession. The barcode probably correlates to cards that were just taken off the rack and were never activated or paid for. So the legitimate buyer in this case takes home an unactivated Visa gift card.
How to Protect Yourself
The best way to avoid these type of scams is to inspect the cards before paying for them. In this case the packaging seems legit somehow. So rip it open and check the barcode. Miles to Memories suggests that you should “run your finger along the bar code. If it is plastic feeling with bumps you should be good. If it feels like paper then take it to the service desk and alert management.”
This Kroger Visa gift card scam is very suspicious. I don’t see how they’re able to open the packaging and places a new barcode without leaving any traces. The worst part of this scam is that you’ll be stuck in the middle between the issuer and Kroger, as neither will be willing to take the blame.
Let me know if you’ve come across any similar issues. i don’t have any Kroger stores around me, so I don’t have any experience with them.