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NORTH TEXAS – It’s that time of year. “gift card season.” But before you buy – beware!
“I am the person who bought the compromise card,” Shannon Greer explained. “And I was absolutely shocked!”
Greer used to work for a gift card manufacturer. She explained different methods of gift card fraud to CBS News Texas in 2021 in an I-Team investigation.
But this time, she says she is the victim of fraud.
Greer bought a $200 Visa gift card online through Amazon in November. She says she registered it. Then, she says she made a surprising discovery.
“There was no balance. And I’m like, ‘What do you mean there’s 34 cents?’ There’s no way there’s 34 cents. I just got it five days ago.”
She spent years working in the gift card industry and is extremely familiar with theft issues.
“Being a smart consumer, I don’t ever go to the front-end caps, because I used to work in this business, so I understand how compromised those cards can get.”
For years, the I-Team has reported on all types of gift card fraud- particularly cards bought in stores where they are often tampered with, the numbers stolen, and card values drained all before the customer ever gets the cards home.
But that’s not what appears to have happened here.
“Knowing what I know, I never go the endcaps. That’s why I went to Amazon. I thought this is how I’m going to make sure I’m safe.”
But days after purchasing the Visa gift card, Greer says she discovered several purchases on the card that she did not make.
“I was like, ‘I didn’t buy any of these.'”
The I-Team learned this appears to have happened to others.
Taking a closer look at the Amazon reviews for this specific Visa card, we found nearly 40 similar complaints. Most of them are from June of this year to now.
“Card compromised- .02 cents left”
“All the funds stolen”
“Card had been used”
“Card used states away from me.”
“Hacked…only had .09”
“All money spent in NY. We live in north Carolina.”
“We live in Delaware. Card used in Arkansas”
Greer says she holds Amazon responsible, so she contacted a customer service representative at Amazon. She filed complaints and she says she disputed the $200 charge with her credit card company.
But she says she felt as though each representative she reached was saying, “Not my problem.”
“I said, ‘I’m going to call Ginger,'” referring to the I-Team. “I think consumers need to be aware of this. We’ve always made them aware of the end cap issue. This is a whole different issue. This is something where this has never been in the hands of the public until I get it, so now, I’m saying, ‘Where is it being compromised?'”
The I-Team had the same questions, so we reached out to Amazon. We talked to Amazon off and on for a week.
An Amazon spokesperson then sent us an email stating:
The I-Team also contacted the card distributor, Blackhawk Network.
A spokesperson sent us an email stating:
“While we cannot comment on specifics related to this situation, I’ve provided comments below that can be attributed to BHN’s position around fraud related to gift cards.
Visa did not respond to the I-Team’s request for a statement or interview.
GIFT CARD BUYING TIPS:
With this alleged issue, the best advice is to read the reviews before you buy.
If you buy gift cards in stores, experts tell the I-Team:
-Avoid buying cards from the front of the display which are easily accessible. Dig to the back, where thieves are less likely to tamper with them.
– Once you buy a card, immediately change the security code or pin if that is an option.
-Save your receipt.
-If you have trouble, go back directly to the retailer.
-If you can, instead of buying cards from a third party, such as a grocery store, go online to the specific retailer and ship it directly.
First published on December 20, 2023 / 5:31 PM CST
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