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Centrifuge41 you are awesome! Thank you so much!

nwill002 said:   seems like the effort-risk-reward ratios of such a scam is pretty weak

Not at all. Write a bit of code that runs through the numbers the thief has, a few times a day (maybe by trying to charge a dollar or so to a fake overseas merchant account the thief has set up). Set an alert whenever a card is activated. Clone a new card, go shopping.

TrueKnight said:   Nope, she informed the Customer Service people and they said they don't have authorization to remove them and *most* of them might be legit. I'm not surprised; I mean, we're talking about WalMart here.So given that it seems pretty clear that this is fraudulent activity, is there someone at AMEX to talk to that might be interested in investigating this, thereby forcing WM to do something? After all, they'll be eating the loss on this, when the remaining cards are sold.

I remeber the fees for purchasing the AMEX prepaid card was more expensive than the green dot card. I guess the theives find hacking the AMEX prepaid card is easier and less people would notice the difference.

billrubin said:   TrueKnight said:   Nope, she informed the Customer Service people and they said they don't have authorization to remove them and *most* of them might be legit. I'm not surprised; I mean, we're talking about WalMart here.So given that it seems pretty clear that this is fraudulent activity, is there someone at AMEX to talk to that might be interested in investigating this, thereby forcing WM to do something? After all, they'll be eating the loss on this, when the remaining cards are sold.

I started a thread last year when a Walgreens gift card (store gift card) that I bought off of the rack and never lost, was somehow cloned before I purchased it. The fraudster was able to call in verify when the card was loaded and used many states away.

My experience was to hit on several fronts.

1) Contact Wal-Mart's corporate office. I am sure they have a dedicated fraud loss department for gift cards (Walgreens did).

2) Dispute with your credit card.

3) Follow-up with a complaint if WalMart drags their feet (give it a month) http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/index-consumer-pro...

My complaint was actually forwarded by the OCC to another branch, but the point is you get attention (there is no reason to allow for this to drag on for months).

The Visa prepaids sold on the Gift Card Mall kiosks have a perforated cardboard strip over the bar code and are extremely easy to spot if tampered with (flap either falls open or completely removed). If you don't see (and hear) the flap being torn away by the cashier DO NOT BUY IT.

Probably see this kind of thing 1 out of every 3 store visits. It is extremely common.

These scams are common because risk or prosecution is negligible. Most stores have cameras that can spot and identify the culprits after the fact, cops don't want to pursue small-criminals.

Best thing is to go to bank and get gift cards, my bank offers them for $4.95 fee.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Usually Armenian scammers in LAGlendale!!

do the chinese way...buy chinese red envelop and put in the $100. unless that $100 cash is fake too. lol cash have the best cash value.

i hate all these gift cards, why restrict your cash? why trade an item that can be use everywhere for an item that only be use at a few locations?

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Yes this is becoming a common scam

Usually Armenian scammers in LA


LOL. SIS, is there an angle, scam, or racket you aren't familiar with ?

You're like a combination Rainman, Saul Goodman, Tom Vu, and the Dos Equis guy all rolled into one.

WorkerAnt said:   do the chinese way...buy chinese red envelop and put in the $100. unless that $100 cash is fake too. lol cash have the best cash value.

i hate all these gift cards, why restrict your cash? why trade an item that can be use everywhere for an item that only be use at a few locations?



1. PITA relatives who are boring and you owe a gift to in a few hours.
2. kid needs to learn allowance limitations without access to your credit.
3. meet minimum spend targets for credit card bonuses within certain timeframe.

Otherwise, yes they suck.

WorkerAnt said:   do the chinese way...buy chinese red envelop and put in the $100. unless that $100 cash is fake too. lol cash have the best cash value.

i hate all these gift cards, why restrict your cash? why trade an item that can be use everywhere for an item that only be use at a few locations?


Because it's netting me 5-6% CashBack.

LordKronos, Thank you for the script. I was actually able to locate the actual card number because 9 out of the 10 numbers generated gave me errors on the AMEX gift card website.

Okay, so now here's the kicker:

This card was purchased a week ago at WalMart. Accessing the transaction history on the card, it shows no activity for the months of May, April, March, February BUT shows the following for January of this year:

Transaction Date - Post Date - Description - Reference Number - Amount
01/17/2012 - 01/19/2012 - TARGET STORES 222 0222 17751 COLIMA CITY OF INDUSTRY 840 - Partial Purchase - P29CAI25355RYV00GD - $-100.00
01/13/2012 - 01/13/2012 - Wal-Mart US STORES - Value Load - 114575000YY0 - $100.00


I've examined the package and the package does show the actual barcode. I can only assume someone has probably taken the original card and replaced it with a depleted card, repackaged it, and replaced it back on the shelf. The original card will probably be used, have the numbers scratched/stripe defaced, and replaced into a future "swap". Now if they're doing this, WHY bother even with the defacing of the cards if the card amount has already been depleted?

Oh and one other note, she purchased it on her debit card as the merchant would not take credit cards for prepaid credit card purchases. Only debit and cash is accepted.

TrueKnight said:   Oh and one other note, she purchased it on her debit card as the merchant would not take credit cards for prepaid credit card purchases. Only debit and cash is accepted.

You're screwed.

TrueKnight said:   LordKronos, Thank you for the script. I was actually able to locate the actual card number because 9 out of the 10 numbers generated gave me errors on the AMEX gift card website.

Okay, so now here's the kicker:

This card was purchased a week ago at WalMart. Accessing the transaction history on the card, it shows no activity for the months of May, April, March, February BUT shows the following for January of this year:

Transaction Date - Post Date - Description - Reference Number - Amount
01/17/2012 - 01/19/2012 - TARGET STORES 222 0222 17751 COLIMA CITY OF INDUSTRY 840 - Partial Purchase - P29CAI25355RYV00GD - $-100.00
01/13/2012 - 01/13/2012 - Wal-Mart US STORES - Value Load - 114575000YY0 - $100.00


I've examined the package and the package does show the actual barcode. I can only assume someone has probably taken the original card and replaced it with a depleted card, repackaged it, and replaced it back on the shelf. The original card will probably be used, have the numbers scratched/stripe defaced, and replaced into a future "swap". Now if they're doing this, WHY bother even with the defacing of the cards if the card amount has already been depleted?

So the person can't just call AMEX with the card number when they realize there's a problem . 99 percent of people including store clerks wouldn't be able to reverse engineer the card number like you just did. They would have to take it back to the store , hope the store believes them, and if they got it as a gift or didn't have the original receipt , they'd be outta luck.

teammjs said:   

LOL. SIS, is there an angle, scam, or racket you aren't familiar with ?

.


I take that as a compliment.

Too bad beefjerkay isn't here to answer that for you

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Yes this is becoming a common scam

The crooks get the inactive cards ,Take them home , scratch the numbers off then put them back on the shelves at the store

Then they keep hitting the number till a card gets activated by a cashier

Usually Armenian scammers in LA


Criminals are always so smart. I wouldn't have ever thought of that.

WorkerAnt said:   do the chinese way...buy chinese red envelop and put in the $100. unless that $100 cash is fake too. lol cash have the best cash value.

i hate all these gift cards, why restrict your cash? why trade an item that can be use everywhere for an item that only be use at a few locations?


Gas points, CB, etc. add up quick with store cards, not sure about pre paid credit cards, the fees always turned me off to them.

TrueKnight said:   LordKronos, Thank you for the script. I was actually able to locate the actual card number because 9 out of the 10 numbers generated gave me errors on the AMEX gift card website.

Okay, so now here's the kicker:

This card was purchased a week ago at WalMart. Accessing the transaction history on the card, it shows no activity for the months of May, April, March, February BUT shows the following for January of this year:

Transaction Date - Post Date - Description - Reference Number - Amount
01/17/2012 - 01/19/2012 - TARGET STORES 222 0222 17751 COLIMA CITY OF INDUSTRY 840 - Partial Purchase - P29CAI25355RYV00GD - $-100.00
01/13/2012 - 01/13/2012 - Wal-Mart US STORES - Value Load - 114575000YY0 - $100.00


I've examined the package and the package does show the actual barcode. I can only assume someone has probably taken the original card and replaced it with a depleted card, repackaged it, and replaced it back on the shelf. The original card will probably be used, have the numbers scratched/stripe defaced, and replaced into a future "swap". Now if they're doing this, WHY bother even with the defacing of the cards if the card amount has already been depleted?


So when scanned at the register to load, they aren't scanning the actual card's barcode through a window on the back of it? The card is completely enclosed and the barcode scanned to load is printed on the package and then is linked to the card the thieves have? The GC's I've seen have the window on the back, granted you still can't see the numbers or the magnetic strip.

TrueKnight said:   Oh and one other note, she purchased it on her debit card as the merchant would not take credit cards for prepaid credit card purchases. Only debit and cash is accepted.
Even if the purchase was made on a debit card, if it was a non-PIN purchase then it was still ultimately processed through the Visa or Mastercard network. As a result, depending on the bank you should still be able to dispute the charge once its posted. I've successfully done disputes on a CU issued Visa Debit card and a BOA Visa Debit card....

If the transaction was processed as a PIN-based transaction, meaning it went through Cirrus, Star, Interlink, or another similar network for processing, then once it posts to the account you should be able to open up a regulation E dispute with the bank as well, which the bank is required to process within 60 days of a transaction IIRC. The hard part will likely be getting in contact with the correct person at the bank who knows what a regulation E dispute is and can provide you with the proper reg E dispute paperwork. I've successfully done a regulation E dispute in the past on a PIN-based transaction on a Citibank issued debit mastercard (transaction processed through Cirrus IIRC)...

ETA: Not surprising that the store tried to restrict the purchase to debit/cash only based on their other ignorances you've mentioned as well, especially since WM's corporate policy explicitly allows these GC's to be purchased directly with CC's....

TrueKnight said:   This card was purchased a week ago at WalMart. Accessing the transaction history on the card, it shows no activity for the months of May, April, March, February BUT shows the following for January of this year:So where did the money that you put on the card go? Do you have the card number that was activated on a receipt? And has that already been spent (this is probably a stupid question, I assume the answer is yes)?

johnf585 said:   ETA: Not surprising that the store tried to restrict the purchase to debit/cash only based on their other ignorances you've mentioned as well, especially since WM's corporate policy explicitly allows these GC's to be purchased directly with CC's....Many stores don't let you buy gift cards with credit cards because of the fraud on the other end -- using stolen cards to buy them. Look at what was probably done with the money on the card he had -- $100 at Target was probably buying a Target gift card to make it even harder to follow the money.

A local A&P supermarket no longer takes credit cards for gift card purchases. I am fairly sure it is because a bunch of thieves used stolen credit cards to buy gift cards there a year or so ago. The amusing part is that they were caught because they made an illegal left turn out of the store's parking lot. They were pulled over by a cop who discovered a bunch of credit cards in their car. Turns out they were big time credit card thieves from Brooklyn. We are over an hour away but they probably went to stores in the suburbs where they were not as suspicious of credit card purchases of gift cards. If they hadn't made the illegal left turn, they never would have been caught (at least not that day)!

billrubin said:   johnf585 said:   ETA: Not surprising that the store tried to restrict the purchase to debit/cash only based on their other ignorances you've mentioned as well, especially since WM's corporate policy explicitly allows these GC's to be purchased directly with CC's....Many stores don't let you buy gift cards with credit cards because of the fraud on the other end -- using stolen cards to buy them. Look at what was probably done with the money on the card he had -- $100 at Target was probably buying a Target gift card to make it even harder to follow the money.

A local A&P supermarket no longer takes credit cards for gift card purchases. I am fairly sure it is because a bunch of thieves used stolen credit cards to buy gift cards there a year or so ago. The amusing part is that they were caught because they made an illegal left turn out of the store's parking lot. They were pulled over by a cop who discovered a bunch of credit cards in their car. Turns out they were big time credit card thieves from Brooklyn. We are over an hour away but they probably went to stores in the suburbs where they were not as suspicious of credit card purchases of gift cards. If they hadn't made the illegal left turn, they never would have been caught (at least not that day)!

Yeah, I agree with you on that being the main reason (stolen CC use) individual stores try to institute such policies preventing buying GC's w/CC's. I guess my point is that lots of times (and I can sympathize slightly with stores who've incurred losses due to stolen CC use), when individual store managers attempt to do this, they are not in compliance with their corporate policy, and potentially out of compliance with their contractual agreement with the 3rd party GC source (BlackHawk Network in a lot of cases) as well.

For instance, I once had a Kroger store manager (first time I'd been to this particular location) refuse to allow me to purchase MC GC's with my CC based on her store's own "policy", even when Kroger's corporate policy specifically allows it. After contacting the loss prevention division manager for this Kroger's region while still in the store, the store manager was then ordered by the loss prevention division manager to allow me to complete the purchase, which they did allow. Have not had any issues at that same store since....

ETA: That is hilarious on the thieves being caught exiting the A&P parking lot, serves them right!

Saw a similar scam in Portland, OR at a safeway, card had clearly been opened when I looked at it. Guy at the register helpfully said, "Nah, it doesn't have any money on it until I load it anyway." Yes, dipshit, that's the point, they wait until I load it and they have the card numbers and pin and siphon the funds off. Wasn't going to try to explain it to a grocery cashier, but glad my hunch was correct.

FragOut said:   
So when scanned at the register to load, they aren't scanning the actual card's barcode through a window on the back of it? The card is completely enclosed and the barcode scanned to load is printed on the package and then is linked to the card the thieves have? The GC's I've seen have the window on the back, granted you still can't see the numbers or the magnetic strip.


Yeah this card has no actual barcodes on either side of it. On the package, there is an item barcode as well as an unique identifier barcode for activation of the card within.

billrubin said:   So where did the money that you put on the card go? Do you have the card number that was activated on a receipt? And has that already been spent (this is probably a stupid question, I assume the answer is yes)?

The money that was put on the card went on to activate the actual/original card that was suppose to be in the package which is already in possession of the scammers. The actual card numbers are not printed on the receipt though I think they should be.

TrueKnight said:   billrubin said:   So where did the money that you put on the card go? Do you have the card number that was activated on a receipt? And has that already been spent (this is probably a stupid question, I assume the answer is yes)?
The money that was put on the card went on to activate the actual/original card that was suppose to be in the package which is already in possession of the scammers. The actual card numbers are not printed on the receipt though I think they should be.
For your security! You don't want someone getting the receipt and being able to see the account number and be able to access it!

TrueKnight said:   Transaction Date - Post Date - Description - Reference Number - Amount
01/17/2012 - 01/19/2012 - TARGET STORES 222 0222 17751 COLIMA CITY OF INDUSTRY 840 - Partial Purchase - P29CAI25355RYV00GD - $-100.00
01/13/2012 - 01/13/2012 - Wal-Mart US STORES - Value Load - 114575000YY0 - $100.00
Heh, so they were Glendale Armos. Good call SIS.

I haven't read the whole thread. But I don't see the word "police" being mentioned. There is reasonable believe that there is crime involved. So I think law enforcement should be notified.

kickerstarter said:   I haven't read the whole thread. But I don't see the word "police" being mentioned. There is reasonable believe that there is crime involved. So I think law enforcement should be notified.
Yeah definitely report it with the new found information of the card number. Maybe the criminals were dumb and used a credit card for the rest of the transaction. Maybe there is still security footage. Might also want to call the fraud department of AMEX with all the information.

WorkerAnt said:   do the chinese way...buy chinese red envelop and put in the $100. unless that $100 cash is fake too. lol cash have the best cash value.

i hate all these gift cards, why restrict your cash? why trade an item that can be use everywhere for an item that only be use at a few locations?


Why hate them? You should learn from them. Put your gift money in a high yield checking account and write a check. You continue to earn money before the check is cashed. And there is good chances that some of them never get cashed...

OP,

I know $100 isn't alot, but I would start drafting the letter summarizing everything that occurred and what you know. Keep the first section a very brief summary that stands out. Should pretty clearly state that you were defrauded out of $100 due to the WalMart selling you a stolen AMEX Gift Card.

This may take a few minutes to think through, but you want it clear that WalMart sold you a stolen card, not that the card you bought was stolen (the difference is subtle, but many people will extract a different meaning from it).

Send it to anybody and everybody. The state AG, WalMart legal (as a demand letter for the return of your $100), AMEX Legal (as the demand for the return of your $100), OCC, OTS, FTC, etc... Also send it to the local tv networks and newspapers to see if you can get them to cover it (could even focus on all the problem solver columnists). Include a link to this thread at the end of your letter.

With any luck, you can get a local reporter to go back to the same WalMart and find some of the stolen cards still on the rack.

I'm pretty sure that you are only going to get your money back now if you are an attention whore.

I would also like to thank you for posting this. I have forwarded a link to this thread to so many people I know who think nothing of buying gift cards. I just can't seem to convince them that there really is no good reason to buy them unless you are getting something in return (and 2% CashBack is a borderline reason for the risk).

Thanks again.

I have bought AMEX gift cards from WalMart online before with free ship to store ( and I think free shipping to my home).
After reading this thread I think that this the only safe way to buy them anymore...

What about suing WalMart in small claims court for the $100?

List of walmart corporate officers and executive contacts

use the following format to email the above WalMart executives:
michael.duke@Wal-Mart.com

866-625-0507 WalMart executive resolution
800-966-6546
800-411-7942
479-273-4000 headquarters general operator - ask to be connected to each executive's office
479-277-1830 headquarters regular fax
479-273-4329 executive office fax (send to various corporate officers)
479-271-0793 phone to Michael Duke, WalMart ceo

My question is to the experienced FWers who usually purchase the 500$ Visa or MC's with credit card, my question is around drivers license requirement For most stores where these are sold, they want to check your drivers license because of the amount being purchased especially if you have 2-3 in hand
as the register usually beeps and requires some over-ride

However there have been a couple of ocassions where i have been forced to give them the DL information to note it down on the receipt.This is where im really uncomfortable although i'm not trying to scam. I know it is illegal to make a copy/xerox of someones ID information but these stores says its okay for them to record information from DL on the register receipt. I don't want to argue too much to highlight the situation so i have given in a couple of times when this has happened

Anybody knows if there is any law governing noting down DLs information on receipts since who knows they can even make a copy of store receipt later and misuse it for identity theft. If there are scam artits on this side then im sure there is possibility of few bad apples on other side too

Please provide you inputs on how to deal with this or the store can force you to record this information if they like for making the purchase

WorkerAnt said:   do the chinese way...buy chinese red envelop and put in the $100. unless that $100 cash is fake too. lol cash have the best cash value.

i hate all these gift cards, why restrict your cash? why trade an item that can be use everywhere for an item that only be use at a few locations?

I think you are missing the point. In addition to meeting spending requirements, GCs can easily be monetized (to the tune of thousands a year) or used to accrue hotel points/airline miles without much effort.

recklessmax said:    I know it is illegal to make a copy/xerox of someones ID information but these stores says its okay for them to record information from DL on the register receipt. I don't want to argue too much to highlight the situation so i have given in a couple of times when this has happened
Huh? I think your starting premise is flawed.



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