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Warning issued about crooks tampering with gift cards before customers buy them

Warning issued about crooks tampering with gift cards before customers buy them
Warning issued about crooks tampering with gift cards before customers buy them 02:28

There's a new warning about a scam taking advantage of people's generosity. Crooks are tampering with gift cards before you even buy them. 

The scam centers on gift cards openly displayed in stores, not pre-packaged ones. 

Scammers take them, record the numbers and any pin numbers, then put the cards back on the shelf, where customers who are none the wiser purchase them. 

One Arvada woman recently fell victim to the scam after purchasing a Target gift card. 

In September, Suzanne Gdovic stopped by her neighborhood Target to buy a gift for a baby shower. 


"Picked up a gift card, put $200 on it, got the baby card, got it off to the shower," said Gdovic. 

A couple of weeks later, her friend reported a problem. 

"I was mortified. She goes to buy $200 worth of baby items and you get to that cash register and there's no money on it," said Gdovic." And a message that came up at the cash register that said 'this gift card is registered to another account.'" 

Luckily, Gdovic was prepared. 

"When I buy a gift card, I photocopy it front and back. I always keep my receipts, all the packaging," said Gdovic. 


She brought the information to Target and was told by management she was likely the victim of a scam. 

"People are coming in, they're grabbing a stack of those, they're scratching that information off, which gives you the gift card number and it gives you the access code, and they put on another protective liner," said Gdovic. 

From there, scammers likely put the gift cards back on the shelf. Then when someone purchases and loads money onto the card, they access it using the numbers. 

A recent Better Business Bureau study found reports of gift card scams, including this tactic, have increased by 50% this year. And it's not just Target, the scam could happen anywhere gift cards are sold. 

"As we speak, people are buying them, they're getting ready for holiday shopping. How many people has this already happened to?" Gdovic asked. 


Gdovic gave her friend $200 to replace the gift. She's still waiting on a refund from Target, but was able to dispute the charge with her bank.  

Target wasn't able to comment on the issue. 

Because this could happen anywhere, it's important to take precautions when purchasing a gift card. 

When possible, buy a gift card that doesn't have numbers exposed, for example, in a pack or from behind the counter. And make sure to keep your receipt. 

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