Gift Cards Are New Source of Scams

Thieves have been writing down the numbers of unused gift cards. Once the card has been activated, they take the numbers online and start shopping.

From KXAN:

    “I just thought if it’s activated, you put it in your purse and that’s yours. You don’t think about someone stealing your number,” shopper Lara Robles said.”
    “I don’t think there’s any reason to hide it, not like personal info on there,” shopper Shannon Brown said.
    Henderson asked: “If you were to go get a gift card, what would you do it with?”
    Robles said: “Throw it in my cart.”
    Henderson said; “Someone could get your numbers.”
    Robles said: “Right, I didn’t even think about that.”

    “Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Cabellero said.”

Suposedly, scammers can steal the number from your cart, or in some cases just write down the numbers of unused cards on display…then wait for Christmas Eve and start typing them in. We do not know if this actually works, because we are not scammers, but it can’t be a bad idea to keep an eye on your card.—MEGHANN MARCO

Gift Cards Latest Source Of Scams [KXAN]

Comments

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  1. homerjay says:

    Thats very smart. It makes perfect sense unless the card has one of those “Scratch before using” deals that hides the number.

    The only drawback is that the purchase is tracable to the person getting the delivery.
    I’m sure they’ve found a way around that.

  2. nweaver says:

    Homerjay: Yeah, they use/hire mules who think they have a “cool job” repackaging packages. You spam to find mules to do that work.

    Magstripe based ones are also duplicatable, you jsut swipe the stripe.

    For in-store use, magstripe ones are easy to forge that way. Barcodes aren’t. But for online purchases based on card number…

  3. Juancho says:

    Best Buy has the scratch-off extra identity digit, so you’re safe there.

  4. aujahlisa says:

    Snopes.com did an article about this on Nov 20, 2006.
    http://www.snopes.com/fraud/sales/giftcard.asp

    They also included common sense tips on how to avoid being defrauded.

  5. jwissick says:

    Another reason giftcards suck. If you want to give the purchaser a gift that they can choose, give a bank gift card or cash. Don’t tie someone to a store and then loan the store the money intrest free with them hoping the gift card is lost or forgotten.

  6. comedian says:

    Home Depot lost a ton of dough to scammers pulling this back four or five years ago.

    The number showing on the back of the card was exactly the same as the mag-stripe encoded information.

    Thieves would re-encode the mag-stripe with the numbers they’d recorded from as-yet-unsold cards, and once those copied-from cards were sold they had access to the amount bought against the compromised cards’ numbers.

  7. Mr. Gunn says:

    This has to be the third article I’ve seen on this “potential” danger, and none of the articles cite a single case where this did, in fact, happen. They go on at length about how it could, in principle, happen, but provide no evidence that it has actually happened to anyone.

    The closest snopes gets to to reporting similar kinds of scams.

    Can we go back to worrying about shark attacks or something?