• filter:

Home Depot Gift Card fraud cost me $250 - How did they do it?

  • Text Only
  • Search this Topic »
Voting History
rated:
I bit on a spend $xxxx in y months offered by AmEx and cashed out the points for qty. 5 home depot gift cards valued at $100 each.

Last night, I tried to use one that I thought had $65 left on it but it came up with no balance.  So I pulled out a second card and handed it to the cashier.  Cashier scratched off PIN and then found out that it also had no balance.  Went to customer service desk where they checked and found that my other unused card with PIN number (never scratched off) was also at zero balance.  They researched and claim all three cards were depleted in the last 10 days.  They have no idea how someone could have used the two cards with intact PINs.  They claim they are going to ask corporate to reissue the cards to me but I'm not holding my breath.  They also claim that this is second time this week they had this happen at their store in podunk midwest town.

Looking back, I suppose safer thing for me to do would have been to slowly cash out over time and redeem them immediently instead of getting all 5 cards and stockpiling them for a few months.  

So my questions:  
1. Since cards came from reputable source (AmEx) and PIN was intact, how was anybody able to utilize them?
2. Are there any worthwhile options for me to pursue to get the cards reissued based on the fact their gift card system is obviously not secure enough that it was compromised with PINs never being revealed?

Thanks.

 

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Just to follow up, I painstakingly called up the merchants.  Of course they wouldn't reverse the charges but they did sa... (more)

jcallows (Jun. 21, 2017 @ 12:28p) |

Are you being sarcastic? :p Lets contribute more to the banks, they're losing money on bad loans all the time. Socializ... (more)

vrb747 (Jun. 21, 2017 @ 5:53p) |

Yep, AMEX lied when they said their gift cards are like cash.  This is partially true.  It's like cash only when it bene... (more)

jcallows (Jun. 22, 2017 @ 10:22p) |

Staff Summary
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

rated:
Call Amex

rated:
Call Home Depot, the number on the gift card or their customer service number. If you have the card numbers they should be able to trace the transactions. I had a Whole Foods card get emptied. They saw the store it was used at (700 miles away) and issued a new gift card code immediately for the amount that wasn't spent by me.

rated:
Wizards...

Or hackers, probably.

[Edit: man, no love for the joke. Don't you see that I'm a frivolous member? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVgVB3qsySQ


]

rated:
Bottomline.  Even if the transactions were done 50 feet from your address.
If you did not do those transactions, they must make you whole, eventually.  You might have to keep calling HomeDepot and open a Case.

rated:
nameunknown said:   They claim they are going to ask corporate to reissue the cards to me but I'm not holding my breath.  They also claim that this is second time this week they had this happen at their store in podunk midwest town.You did nothing wrong. You were not careless and drop the GC on the ground or something; you still have it.

rated:
xoneinax said:   Bottomline.  Even if the transactions were done 50 feet from your address.
If you did not do those transactions, they must make you whole, eventually.  You might have to keep calling HomeDepot and open a Case.


There is no federal law that requires retailers to make a person whole in this type of scenario. The law doesn't even provide that they need to give you a list of transactions or information where the card was used. They can just tell you it's empty and that's fine from a legal standpoint.

You have few legal protections when it comes to using gift cards.

rated:
vegas4x4 said:   
xoneinax said:   Bottomline.  Even if the transactions were done 50 feet from your address.
If you did not do those transactions, they must make you whole, eventually.  You might have to keep calling HomeDepot and open a Case.


There is no federal law that requires retailers to make a person whole in this type of scenario. The law doesn't even provide that they need to give you a list of transactions or information where the card was used. They can just tell you it's empty and that's fine from a legal standpoint.

You have few legal protections when it comes to using gift cards.

  State law would apply so telling you it's empty would not be "fine from a legal standpoint."  If there are no state statutes, common law would apply.  You could always sue in small claims court but AMEX will likely take care of it.

rated:
I'm thinking of Christmas Gift Cards & this site is making me wonder if it's such a good idea.
I have used Macy's, WalMart, Penny's cards in the past and will probably use them again.

rated:
If you're talking about giving gift cards, just give people cash. There's no point in spending your time to give someone restricted cash. If you'd like to suggest what they spend it on, write that inside the card.

rated:
Use Amazon cards. Good on recipient choice. No monthly charges, do not expire, higher security. No awkwardness of cash.

rated:
I think receiving a gift card for a place I never shop is more awkward than receiving cash.

Typically the only gift cards I give as gifts are gas cards for people who I know drive enough to make good use of them. I also try to know my recipient well enough to know what fuel brands are most likely to benefit the recipient the most.

I can't remember the last time I gave someone a gift card that wasn't for buying gas.

I also give them the register receipt from the purchase of the gift card in case there's some sort of problem and they're unable to reach me to sort it out.

rated:
smarteconomist1 said:    No awkwardness of cash.
 

  Some of us enjoy a wallet full of awkward....

rated:
My guess is that your friend gave money to the cashier to PUT MONEY ON THE GIFT CARD, But the cashier probably pocketed the money instead of ringing up the sale and adding money to your gift card.
Another way people can Steal your money off your cards is called "Skimming" See YouTube Video and How to protect yourself from being a victim


 



Beware of Gift Card Scammers Video




If your a victim of any fraud on your Debit/Credit Cards, Most likely you can get your money back. This has happened to me. I clicked a Anti-virus link sent to me by email and the virus took out all my passwords, read all my credit card numbers, checking account numbers that I had stored on my computer for purchases. 

0) Make sure you get a copy of everything for your personal records, Bank records, police records.
1) Go inside your bank and ask for a "Current Statement" 
2) Go thru each transaction and put a star next to each and every transaction that you did NOT make.
3) File a written complaint with the bank, They will request your State ID and another piece of ID to prove who you are.
4) Get a copy of the Bank Incident Report, Your Current Bank Statement and bring records to the police department. 
5) Show Police Officer your Bank Statements in question, Amounts of credit card theft, Bank Report of Incident.
6) Police Officer will issue a Police Department Business Card with the officer's name, badge and Incident Number.
7) Return to bank with Police Incident Report & Number.
8) Bank will credit your missing amounts in your bank within 72 hours. If its a Credit Card company, Calll them to report the incident and talk to their security department.
9) Contact your Credit Reporting Agency to report Identity Theft, Credit Fraud as Scammers can also attack your credit. (If your a victim of this, You can get a FREE Credit Report thru the Credit Reporting agencies, See below

  • Equifax: Online or by calling 1-888-766-0008.
  • Experian : Online or by calling 1-888-397-3742.
  • TransUnion: Online or by calling 1-800-680-7289

 
 

rated:
MasterCard Giftcard holders be Warned!!

Last week I went to use a $200.00 prepaid MasterCard I had purchased at Office Max in September here in Portland. When trying to use it we discovered funds were missing, someone had used $120.00 off it.
I was really upset, so I went back home and checked all $3500.00+ in Cards I have. In total 6 of the $200.00 cards had been used fraudulently.

One was fully used and the others partially, (since I can pull up the info with the card Number and code from the back, I was able to see exactly where and when they were used).
They would start with a 2-4 dollars purchase at Lowes back east, then when that went through they would do a big charge, like Applebees, T-mobil, etc....., all in California...
What a bunch of Crooks!!

MasterCard must deal with this everyday, they have you fax in a copy of the card with letter stating not your charges, etc....sounds like they will make me whole in the end, just have to wait for the process.
What a hassel......

Anyhow what I learned: 

1. Register card as soon as possible after purchase get your name and info connected to the card.
2. Use them up as soon as you can or monitor the cards!

MasterCard has a bad system, anyone can pull up the card activity as long as they have the card number and 3 digits from the back.....

In My case the cards were unopened, so I just don't see how they could have got the info from the cards. 
But as the 6 cards effected, were consecutive from the same Office Max (930 NW 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97209), there must be some thing going on at this location.

I called the store and of course they claim no liability and just reefer you to MasterCard.
I've also contacted my credit card company and asked for the charges, all $1200.00 to be put in dispute,until this is sorted out......






 

rated:
gergles said:   If you're talking about giving gift cards, just give people cash. There's no point in spending your time to give someone restricted cash. If you'd like to suggest what they spend it on, write that inside the card.
Or write a check so they can mobile deposit it and get cashback when they use their credit card.

rated:
Marvella2 said:   MasterCard Giftcard holders be Warned!!

Last week I went to use a $200.00 prepaid MasterCard I had purchased at Office Max in September here in Portland. When trying to use it we discovered funds were missing, someone had used $120.00 off it.
I was really upset, so I went back home and checked all $3500.00+ in Cards I have. In total 6 of the $200.00 cards had been used fraudulently.

One was fully used and the others partially, (since I can pull up the info with the card Number and code from the back, I was able to see exactly where and when they were used).
They would start with a 2-4 dollars purchase at Lowes back east, then when that went through they would do a big charge, like Applebees, T-mobil, etc....., all in California...
What a bunch of Crooks!!

MasterCard must deal with this everyday, they have you fax in a copy of the card with letter stating not your charges, etc....sounds like they will make me whole in the end, just have to wait for the process.
What a hassel......

Anyhow what I learned: 

1. Register card as soon as possible after purchase get your name and info connected to the card.
2. Use them up as soon as you can or monitor the cards!

MasterCard has a bad system, anyone can pull up the card activity as long as they have the card number and 3 digits from the back.....

In My case the cards were unopened, so I just don't see how they could have got the info from the cards. 
But as the 6 cards effected, were consecutive from the same Office Max (930 NW 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97209), there must be some thing going on at this location.

I called the store and of course they claim no liability and just reefer you to MasterCard.
I've also contacted my credit card company and asked for the charges, all $1200.00 to be put in dispute,until this is sorted out......






 

  

These get hacked.  Often times people 'guess' the numbers.  Were the charges far away?  The numbers are a sequence or something and the hackers can figure them out.

rated:
I don't buy many gift cards and would never gift them. I also utilize my credit card's extended warranty (Citi adds 2 years in any length warranty, and has Price Rewind), so it would be foolish to use gift cards for most purchases.

Right now I have Dominos and Hop Cat. Both were 20% savings.

rated:
Op, in the future just send PayPal from one account to another for the 2.9% cc fee if you need that last 500$. You might eat 14.50$ but its better than being out 250$. That or get an Amazon GC were you can apply to your account right away.

rated:
I'm In oregon, and the charges were in Chicago and California.....

 

rated:
Marvella2 said:   I'm In oregon, and the charges were in Chicago and California.....

 

  So?  We have a little thing called  the 'internet' they can transmit valid #s in less time than I can type this message.

rated:
Honestly, at the first sign of resistance for replacing the cards, one should file a Federal Trade Commission complaint arguing unfair business practices. The argument being that they advertised/promised a gift card, but failed to secure it against unauthorized/fraudulent use.

Enough people complained about the prepaid debit cards that there finally was a rule issued. It's about time to get one at a federal level regarding store issued gift cards. If the stores are going to be cheap and not use a secure technology, then they should be held liable for it.

rated:
gatzdon said:   Honestly, at the first sign of resistance for replacing the cards, one should file a Federal Trade Commission complaint arguing unfair business practices. The argument being that they advertised/promised a gift card, but failed to secure it against unauthorized/fraudulent use.

Enough people complained about the prepaid debit cards that there finally was a rule issued. It's about time to get one at a federal level regarding store issued gift cards. If the stores are going to be cheap and not use a secure technology, then they should be held liable for it.

  Of course they are going to put up some resistance, that's because ANYONE can claim their  cards were stolen.  Especially if it wasn't.  We call that fraud.  (I once had a customer complain that they never got their refund checks and we pulled up the pictures, and low and behold, they cashed the checks and used their signature which was the same for other things they signed).

That's why I said the simple 'call amex' they will give probably the best CS to OP and most likely will replace the cards without too much complaint.  Any other path will just slow things down.

So I'll say it again, Call Amex.

rated:
Marvella2 said:   MasterCard Giftcard holders be Warned!!

Last week I went to use a $200.00 prepaid MasterCard I had purchased at Office Max in September here in Portland. When trying to use it we discovered funds were missing, someone had used $120.00 off it.
I was really upset, so I went back home and checked all $3500.00+ in Cards I have. In total 6 of the $200.00 cards had been used fraudulently.

One was fully used and the others partially, (since I can pull up the info with the card Number and code from the back, I was able to see exactly where and when they were used).
They would start with a 2-4 dollars purchase at Lowes back east, then when that went through they would do a big charge, like Applebees, T-mobil, etc....., all in California...
What a bunch of Crooks!!

MasterCard must deal with this everyday, they have you fax in a copy of the card with letter stating not your charges, etc....sounds like they will make me whole in the end, just have to wait for the process.
What a hassel......

Anyhow what I learned: 

1. Register card as soon as possible after purchase get your name and info connected to the card.
2. Use them up as soon as you can or monitor the cards!

MasterCard has a bad system, anyone can pull up the card activity as long as they have the card number and 3 digits from the back.....

In My case the cards were unopened, so I just don't see how they could have got the info from the cards. 
But as the 6 cards effected, were consecutive from the same Office Max (930 NW 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97209), there must be some thing going on at this location.

I called the store and of course they claim no liability and just reefer you to MasterCard.
I've also contacted my credit card company and asked for the charges, all $1200.00 to be put in dispute,until this is sorted out......






 

  I am in the same boat. GC purchased from Staples store in NJ and used in TX and CA. Filed the dispute paperwork; waiting for a response.

rated:
I use my GC right away...pay for car insurance (Geico).

rated:
drew2money said:   I use my GC right away...pay for car insurance (Geico ).
With Home Depot gift cards?

rated:
OP here.

I called the 800 number for home depot. Gave them the card numbers and they investigated. Four hours later, they emailed me a replacement e-gift card. Lady claims this is the 3rd or 4th time that she has had problems with gift cards sourced through AmEx.

I am quite happy with Home Depot's customer service. I got the right person with only one transfer, she spoke English, and had the power to fix the issue in a prompt manner.

rated:
nameunknown said:   OP here.

I called the 800 number for home depot. Gave them the card numbers and they investigated. Four hours later, they emailed me a replacement e-gift card. Lady claims this is the 3rd or 4th time that she has had problems with gift cards sourced through AmEx.

I am quite happy with Home Depot's customer service. I got the right person with only one transfer, she spoke English, and had the power to fix the issue in a prompt manner.


I had a similar problem. I called Amex and they issued me replacement cards. Glad to hear you got this resolved favorably.

rated:
Marvella2 said:   MasterCard Giftcard holders be Warned!!

Last week I went to use a $200.00 prepaid MasterCard I had purchased at Office Max in September here in Portland. When trying to use it we discovered funds were missing, someone had used $120.00 off it.
I was really upset, so I went back home and checked all $3500.00+ in Cards I have. In total 6 of the $200.00 cards had been used fraudulently.

One was fully used and the others partially, (since I can pull up the info with the card Number and code from the back, I was able to see exactly where and when they were used).
They would start with a 2-4 dollars purchase at Lowes back east, then when that went through they would do a big charge, like Applebees, T-mobil, etc....., all in California...
What a bunch of Crooks!!

MasterCard must deal with this everyday, they have you fax in a copy of the card with letter stating not your charges, etc....sounds like they will make me whole in the end, just have to wait for the process.
What a hassel......

Anyhow what I learned: 

1. Register card as soon as possible after purchase get your name and info connected to the card.
2. Use them up as soon as you can or monitor the cards!

MasterCard has a bad system, anyone can pull up the card activity as long as they have the card number and 3 digits from the back.....

In My case the cards were unopened, so I just don't see how they could have got the info from the cards. 
But as the 6 cards effected, were consecutive from the same Office Max (930 NW 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97209), there must be some thing going on at this location.

I called the store and of course they claim no liability and just reefer you to MasterCard.
I've also contacted my credit card company and asked for the charges, all $1200.00 to be put in dispute,until this is sorted out......






 

  I had this happened twice, one in 2014 and this year.  This last one took over 5 months to get the stolen funds refunded.  It wasn't worth the pain and agony of calling mastercard and filing complaints with gov agencies.  Will never buy these again from Staples.

 

rated:
The people take the gift cards from the stores, scratch off the info, write it down, replace the "scratch off" material and put them back on the rack. Then it's simply a matter of waiting till they get used or activated.

rated:
ericnew said:   The people take the gift cards from the stores, scratch off the info, write it down, replace the "scratch off" material and put them back on the rack. Then it's simply a matter of waiting till they get used or activated.
  While a good idea these came direct from Amex, this means that someone in the card producing division stole a database of numbers.

rated:
forbin4040 said:   
ericnew said:   The people take the gift cards from the stores, scratch off the info, write it down, replace the "scratch off" material and put them back on the rack. Then it's simply a matter of waiting till they get used or activated.
  While a good idea these came direct from Amex, this means that someone in the card producing division stole a database of numbers.

  
Or the more likely answer is that the numbering scheme is broken and fraudsters are able to 'guess' the numbers.  They write programs to keep 'checking' the balance until they get a hit, then take action to drain it.

The bar coded gift card is an outdated technology.  What I don't get is why they aren't using RFID's or something newer that can't be cloned as easily.

rated:
These cards can be brute forced. I don't care to elaborate but I can say for certain they can be. It's likely the person doing the brute force attempt started with a card from Amex or geographically similar source. Just don't take any he cards for a bit till this is sorted out.

rated:
I had this happen to me in 2016 TWICE, over the same AMEX redemption. Brief version of the story:

Had an AMEX account closed due to annual fee at the end of 2015, and redeemed one $500 and another $25 Home Depot GC. Received GC in Jan 2016 and put into drawer (and kind of forgot about it). By summer, I wanted to by some fans and went to HD with the cards. $25 card was fine and $500 card was gone (completely!). Called HD, HD said AMEX need to fix it. AMEX said HD need to fix it. I went through a lot of hassles trying to get this fixed. In the end, HD made me file a police report (as SO's situation was exactly the same, so we have $1000 loss in the household). Later (July 16) AMEX agreed to reissue the cards (two $500 cards for me and SO). During the process, HD pulled the transaction history and it showed both cards were emptied thousands miles away in AZ (I am in CA). When I went to HD about the fraud the first time, I had googled and printed out an exact same story a few years back that published on a major news outlet, which I think helped me to get the local GM's help.

In July when AMEX reissued the cards, they said there is a problem in their card issuing system, and the new cards should not have the same problem, when I asked them how could I be sure this will not happen again. So I felt pretty good to keep the cards in the drawer again. Big mistake! Fast forward to Nov. I went to HD with the reissued card to buy some holiday lights. Card was empty AGAIN!!!!! Checked SO's card, same thing. Called AMEX again. They immediately said they will reissue the cards -- apparently they are aware of the problem by then -- however they said that will be the LAST time they will reissue on the redemption! Two new cards came in about 10 days. This time, I would not trust their claim of finally fixed the loophole. I went to my local HD and asked the manager to issue me a $1000 store credit using the two GC. He did some phantom buy and return, and I had one $1000 store credit on hand. The only downside of store credit is that it can no longer be used for online purchase. However, that's better than have to worry about if the cards will be depleted.

The local store GM said it's most likely someone at the AMEX mailroom (or other place on the chain of custody) copied/imaged the big dollar amount of cards and replicated to use. It used to be PIN is not required if you check out with a cashier -- and the culprit may have an accomplice at the store.

 

rated:
jerry2003 said:   During the process, HD pulled the transaction history and it showed both cards were emptied thousands miles away in AZ (I am in CA).
It's approximately 1308 miles by road from the northwestern corner of California to the furthest Home Depot in Arizona.

rated:
curtster said:   
jerry2003 said:   During the process, HD pulled the transaction history and it showed both cards were emptied thousands miles away in AZ (I am in CA).
It's approximately 1308 miles by road from the northwestern corner of California to the furthest Home Depot in Arizona.

  Not if you take I80 to I55 to I40. 

rated:
I got burned by the same problem.  When I went to check out at Home Depot and was told that my Home Depot gift card that I had received from American Express Rewards had been drained.  After much research and consternation I was in contact with Home Depot customer service and the Home Depot rep had a memo that discussed that American Express had fraudulent activities in the fabrication and delivery process of the Home Depot Gift cards issued by American Express Rewards.  I received a replacement gift card.   Only the customer service reps in Atlanta know about this problem as no one at the several local stores I visited was aware of the problem with American Express.  American Express private labels for a number of private label gift cards sold by major retailers.  Many have reported lack of available funds from these cards.  I will never obtain a gift card again.

rated:
Further evidence that the gift card market has gone to complete hell. I've been hit by GC related problems (one $100 eBay GC from PPDG - which after some painfully extracted concessions from PayPal I finally got back), and my exposure has been very limited, compared to all of the MS gurus out there.

rated:
There's two issues with hd cards now. One. Is store. Credits sometimes will need the drivers liscense of the person that returned merchandise to redeem them. The other is these cards and pins can be brute forced. Some of the major Gc companies are now punting on buying and selling these cards.

Skipping 6 Messages...
rated:
Yep, AMEX lied when they said their gift cards are like cash.  This is partially true.  It's like cash only when it benefits AMEX.  If someone steals your card, AMEX is not responsible.  But with cash, if you have it in your possession, obviously the thief cannot spend it.  With the AMEX gift card, even if you have it in your possession, the thief can still spend it.  This is blatant false advertising.  

On top of this, AMEX states on their packaging they will replace lost or stolen cards.  But here's the fine print.  They will not replace the stolen funds.  This made me laugh.  So if someone hacks your card and drains the funds, AMEX will replace the card, not the funds.  You will get a nearly empty card.  Too funny.

In conclusion, better stick to MasterCard or Visa gift cards.  While these too can be hacked, in my experience, you're more likely to get reimbursed for the stolen funds by MasterCard or Visa.  

  • Quick Reply:  Have something quick to contribute? Just reply below and you're done! hide Quick Reply
     
    Click here for full-featured reply.


Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2017