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I see there are a number of eBay listings for lots of empty or "no value" Visa or Mastercard debit cards, like this one that sold for $16, Link.

So what's the play here?  I have a bunch of old empty debit cards sitting around -- I registered all of them for online use, so maybe there's a way to get somehow my name, address, phone number and email address?

Any thoughts on the risks of selling or, more importantly, who in the world is buying these?

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Drug dealers use prepaid cards to launder money.

Forget bulk cash. Heavy and hard to hide, it’s simply not the most conv... (more)

Buckmann (Aug. 15, 2016 @ 9:12p) |

Buckmann, I fail to see any relevance here.  We are talking about EMPTY cards.
 
Plus the article is hype anyway:  If I pl... (more)

irate_retro (Aug. 16, 2016 @ 6:15a) |

It's called memorization of 80 digits and a plastic shredder.

DTASFAB (Aug. 16, 2016 @ 7:38a) |

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No idea but I'm intrigued. I literally have hundreds of these that I could let go of.

dboston1 said:   No idea but I'm intrigued. I literally have hundreds of these that I could let go of.
I don't have that many because I just toss them in the trash.  But maybe I'll start selling some.  I want to know what the angle is or why someone would want them.  Maybe tax evaders who want to use "credit card" statements in lieu of receipts?

They also make nice plastic discs if someone is making a low-tech fake ID by printing on adhesive stickers.

A potential risk for the seller is that someone will have access to information about how the $500 from each card got drained.  Maybe they want to open a fraud dispute for each card and having the physical card lends them credibility about their supposed truthfulness?

I'm taking a wild guess, but they could be useful to magnetic strip fraudsters thieves for making counterfeit cards. Better to buy them in bulk online than going to the store to get them.

mapen said:   I'm taking a wild guess, but they could be useful to magnetic strip fraudsters thieves for making counterfeit cards. Better to buy them in bulk online than going to the store to get them.
The irony here is that I'm willing to bet a bunch of the zero-value cards being sold were never activated in the first place.  I'm sure a portion of the cards go unsold.  I can't find any of these on Drugstore racks with expiration dates prior to 2023 anymore.  Did every single card with a 2020 or 2021 expiration get sold and activated?  I seriously doubt it.  Every few months, the store employees are probably instructed to clean out the older stock of unactivated cards so they can be disposed of... properly, not on eBay.

I suppose these would be great cards to use when putting stolen information on a magnetic stripe.  If the merchant checks the card at all, there's no chip, and the user can even claim, "It's an anonymous gift card, you don't have to worry about a purchase dispute, because this card is the same as cash."

Also, some buy old and expired credit and debit cards as collectibles.

Magnetic strip fraudsters sounds about right.

I'm trying to remember the information I entered when I registered the card -- I think it's just name, address, phone and maybe email. (I don't think birthday was part of it, definitely not SSN.) So essentially they'd get the same information they could get from eBay on a seller. And that's assuming there's a way to back into the information I entered for the card.

Just trying to see if there's a risk to selling. I don't see it.

Replying to multiple above posts:  From my experience with cards I received, you can usually, but not always, log in or use the card number, expiration and CVV combination to go in and change the information on your profile.

I noticed that some of the cards have the last 4 digits listed. That is the angle. Card fraudsters will look for cards that match the last 4 digits of the cards they stole online.

DTASFAB said:   
The irony here is that I'm willing to bet a bunch of the zero-value cards being sold were never activated in the first place.  I'm sure a portion of the cards go unsold.  I can't find any of these on Drugstore racks with expiration dates prior to 2023 anymore.  Did every single card with a 2020 or 2021 expiration get sold and activated?  I seriously doubt it.  Every few months, the store employees are probably instructed to clean out the older stock of unactivated cards so they can be disposed of... properly

 
The third party GC issuers pay different third party companies to go into stores and remove cards with soon to expire dates.  Those cards are accounted for and destroyed by either the store or third party agent..
Not too tough odd job for gas money. 

There are hundreds of uses for old giftcards(crafts) but those would be bulk transactions.. I can also imagine a market for mostly used Giftcards if you had a way to drain the last few cents off them. There could be some kind of market reloading them and reselling them.

My best guess for a legitimate use(highly and wildly speculative guess) is returning them or destroying them so the original company can re-issue the CC numbers with a new CCV and expiry date.  There is a limited number of credit card numbers in particular when you subtract the numbers that do not represent account numbers. Many of the digits in a CC numbers are things like

  1. Company.  Visa/Mastercard/American Express/ect
  2. Issuing Financial Institution
  3. Check sum.  Similar to an ECC bit for computer (Computer Geeks get it)

I believe my banks debit cards for instance only have 10 or 11 digits that represent my account.  If the same logic applies to Visa and Mastercard gift cards the number may have some value.  The numbers must be issued by the American National Standards Institute and that cost money.  I don't know how much.

Still it sounds like a SCAM of some sort and I am intrigued as to whether there are legitimate uses beyond arts and crafts.

dippy943 said:   who in the world is buying these?
  They are Handy for detailing your car. Great for scraping off tree residue on top and tar bits on the side without scratching the paint. 

atikovi said:   
dippy943 said:   who in the world is buying these?
  They are Handy for detailing your car. Great for scraping off tree residue on top and tar bits on the side without scratching the paint. 

  that ... sounds .... like .... fun

atikovi said:   dippy943 said:   who in the world is buying these?
  They are Handy for detailing your car. Great for scraping off tree residue on top and tar bits on the side without scratching the paint. 


There are legitimate tools that can be purchased for less than $16 that do this.

Chargum85 said:   
atikovi said:   
dippy943 said:   who in the world is buying these?
  They are Handy for detailing your car. Great for scraping off tree residue on top and tar bits on the side without scratching the paint. 


There are legitimate tools that can be purchased for less than $16 that do this.

  You forget what forum you're on? But just out of curiosity, show an example.

Sounds like some sort of scam. And if you don't know exactly what's going on, then I wouldn't get involved or you may find yourself either on the losing end of the scam, or with criminal activity tied back to your account.

gavinbelson23 said:   I noticed that some of the cards have the last 4 digits listed. That is the angle. Card fraudsters will look for cards that match the last 4 digits of the cards they stole online.
  
This by far sounds like the most plausible explanation. Good sleuthing. 

I don't *know* what the scam is, but I can pretty much guarantee it isn't people collecting old credit cards or buying them to scrape sap from a car.

There are some people online who say scammers use a low or zero value credit card to scam certain credit card systems that aren't authorized in real time (on an airplane, for example, or at a parking garage where they are processed in periodic batches).

I wouldn't even consider selling some of your own zero value cards unless you want to be (loosely) tied to some kind of scam eventually.

why bother get a headache for just $16? I doubt criminals buy these cards from eBay. I bet they can get a dozen for 5 bucks in black market.

Well, I just had part of the ceiling in my bathroom replaced, and replaced the sink and Vanity and have some plaster, paint, caulk, ect. to scrape off.  I know what I'm using.  Thanks for the idea.

And, regarding the post about people buying them as "collectables", I have a few zeroed out cards I've saved, but they're gift and loyalty cards that say "Circuit City", "Borders", "A&P", "Sports Authority", ect..

cows123 said:   Well.  I just had part of the ceiling in my bathroom replaced, and replaced the sink and Vanity and have some plaster, paint, caulk, ect. to scrape off.  I know what I'm using.  Thanks for the idea.
In southern Arizona, we use them to scrape frost off windshields a few times a year.  Active cards work just fine.
  

atikovi said:   
Chargum85 said:   
atikovi said:   
dippy943 said:   who in the world is buying these?
  They are Handy for detailing your car. Great for scraping off tree residue on top and tar bits on the side without scratching the paint. 


There are legitimate tools that can be purchased for less than $16 that do this.

  You forget what forum you're on? But just out of curiosity, show an example.

  You forget what thread you're posting in?  This is about someone paying $16 for a valueless card.

atikovi said:   
dippy943 said:   who in the world is buying these?
  They are Handy for detailing your car. Great for scraping off tree residue on top and tar bits on the side without scratching the paint. 

  I have done that many times when I had nothing else at hand and I needed something quick for a small job.  Works for paint on windows too.

atikovi said:   
Chargum85 said:   
atikovi said:   
dippy943 said:   who in the world is buying these?
  They are Handy for detailing your car. Great for scraping off tree residue on top and tar bits on the side without scratching the paint. 


There are legitimate tools that can be purchased for less than $16 that do this.

  You forget what forum you're on? But just out of curiosity, show an example.

  I use these sometimes.  There are 3 colors available. 1 is hard, 1 is medium, and the last is soft.  I can say I definitely didn't spen $15 on them and they work better.
https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Razor-Blades-Double-Scrape/dp/B00...

giqcass said:   
atikovi said:   
Chargum85 said:   
atikovi said:   
dippy943 said:   who in the world is buying these?
  They are Handy for detailing your car. Great for scraping off tree residue on top and tar bits on the side without scratching the paint. 


There are legitimate tools that can be purchased for less than $16 that do this.

  You forget what forum you're on? But just out of curiosity, show an example.

  I use these sometimes.  There are 3 colors available. 1 is hard, 1 is medium, and the last is soft.  I can say I definitely didn't spen $15 on them and they work better.
https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Razor-Blades-Double-Scrape/dp/B0050P0PJQ

  For about a dollar, they sell plastic puddy knives at Kmart, if you have points to use, or need a couple of dollars for a coupon or something to kick in.  They are probably similar.

My previous uses:

-spread glue
-clean caulk lines
-mix epoxy
-similar instances involving adhesives and being easy to just throw the mess away

Very interesting:

I keep my old used gift rebate VISA / Master Cards etc ... today checked a Staples VISA rebate VISA debit card originally of $399.00 that was exhausted several months ago .... today I checked balance online and find fresh activity of it having been loaded $500 then a large number of $5 plus and minus activities including fees, ATM transfer, etcetc all in $5 increments making balance go up and don from May to August  now to $450 or so, but the overall balance at the top of the page says $0.00 but activiy says otherwise saying balance as of 8/8 for example to be $450!   Not sure what to make out of it ... may be something related going on here.... 


-clean caulk lines
 

  i use painters tape for that

invisible said:   Very interesting:

I keep my old used gift rebate VISA / Master Cards etc ... today checked a Staples VISA rebate VISA debit card originally of $399.00 that was exhausted several months ago .... today I checked balance online and find fresh activity of it having been loaded $500 then a large number of $5 plus and minus activities including fees, ATM transfer, etcetc all in $5 increments making balance go up and don from May to August  now to $450 or so, but the overall balance at the top of the page says $0.00 but activiy says otherwise saying balance as of 8/8 for example to be $450!   Not sure what to make out of it ... may be something related going on here.... 

  So I am thinking, these empty Visa cards are being bought to transfer cash in and out of the country outside of the conventional banking regulatory system, or while in other countries in micro-mini payment fashion possibly for nefarious activities -- used as part payment of large sums of money to pay or acquire equipment, arms, drugs or whatever by finding these cards are reloadable, even with a fee, that might constitute cost of doing such business under the radar.  Clearly they have means to do some admin level activity on the third party cards simply from bare bones info on magnetic strip, maybe as these are already registered as legal channels before less suspicion on these being scrutinized further by any intelligence agencies despite their massive Big Data analysis, possibly very clever scheme.

I am hesitant to try further activity on this myself, with balance showing zero at the top at stapleseasyrebates.com/rebatecard site, while within, the details show large sums of money being transacted that do not somehow affect the top overall balance despite it showing a positive large starting and ending balance for the dates each of last couple of months....
...    “Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice 

wyle1 said:   
cows123 said:   Well.  I just had part of the ceiling in my bathroom replaced, and replaced the sink and Vanity and have some plaster, paint, caulk, ect. to scrape off.  I know what I'm using.  Thanks for the idea.
In southern Arizona, we use them to scrape frost off windshields a few times a year.  Active cards work just fine.
  

  
Was driving a rental car through Georgia during a little ice storm.  Stopped at multiple auto parts stores trying to buy an ice scrapper.  They just don't sell them there...  Was otherwise a nice drive though.  NO ONE on the roads except the occasional car in the ditch.  
 

If you've got a cheap ($100) writer at your disposal, these cards are somewhat useful just for the magstripe. I don't know what legit plain white blanks cost in lots of 100, but 16 cents doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Plus being found with a gift card in your wallet is a helluva lot less suspicious than a plain white card with your scribblings on it.

Clone your bus/subway pass or things of that nature. (These are not always realtime systems.) Duplicate your laundry card for the apartment complex and sell some to friends. Maybe your lady of negotiable virtue needs a copy of your hotel room key, and your wife already has the 2nd room key with her. Clone your gas card and leave a copy in each vehicle, which is faster/easier than making up authorized user names and waiting for the CC company to send you extra cards. Of course EMV is putting a stop to that convenience.

I find lots of strange uses for these. I still have hundreds more than I'll ever use, but haven't had the guts to sell them. The worst-case scenario I'm thinking is the buyer calling up Metabank and claiming his $500 was stolen off the card and demanding a refund. Say with a fake receipt or whatever. I wouldn't want the grocery store who originally sold them to me to have any hassles, for obvious reasons.

irate_retro said:   Maybe your lady of negotiable virtue needs a copy of your hotel room key, and your wife already has the 2nd room key with her.

If your wife has a copy of the room key this is a bad idea.

//personal experience?

Drug dealers use prepaid cards to launder money.

Forget bulk cash. Heavy and hard to hide, it’s simply not the most convenient cross-border conveyance for a 21st-century money launderer. A safer and increasingly attractive alternative for today’s criminal is electronic cash loaded on what are called stored-value or prepaid cards. Getting them doesn’t require a bank account, and many types can be used anonymously.

Story. 
 

Buckmann, I fail to see any relevance here.  We are talking about EMPTY cards.
 
Plus the article is hype anyway:  If I placed you naked in a room with $2000 cash, I think you could find a way to conceal a roll if you had to.  Try that with 4 plastic gift cards, and I want a camera on that stunt.

irate_retro said:   Buckmann, I fail to see any relevance here.  We are talking about EMPTY cards.
 
Plus the article is hype anyway:  If I placed you naked in a room with $2000 cash, I think you could find a way to conceal a roll if you had to.  Try that with 4 plastic gift cards, and I want a camera on that stunt.

  It's called memorization of 80 digits and a plastic shredder.



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