Police across the country are warning the public to stay vigilant against a deceptive scam known as "card draining." This scheme is compromising the value of gift card purchases at Target and various other retail stores, rendering them useless.
"I was really shocked by it," Suzanne Gdovic, who fell prey to the scam, expressed her surprise on Monday during her appearance on "Fox & Friends First."
Gdovic, living in Colorado, mentioned that she had added $200 to a Target gift card as a present for a friend celebrating the birth of her daughter, unaware that the card had already been compromised by the scam.
"I gave it to her. She went to Target to try to use it, and she was at the cash register checking out, and she was told there was a zero balance on the card and was also told that the gift card was assigned to another person's account. There was no money there for her to use for all of the things that she was buying for the new baby," she continued.
Subsequently, Gdovic had a conversation with the store manager, who informed her about the details of the scam.
"My particular gift card, the back of it was exposed, so it was very easy for them to access the information off the back of the card. There was a silver lining on there. That protective security code had been scratched off, numbers were taken when they took that gift card out of the store. Then they expertly [put] back on that silver lining," she said.
"I picked it up. They had all the information. I loaded it, and when they have an elaborate scheme [they use] the computer with the coding to figure out when you put the money on the card, and then they stole that money off the card way before she went into the store to use it."
This event emerges at a time when the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has disclosed a 50% increase in reported cases of gift card fraud this year, compared to the previous year.
Scammers are employing tactics like offering gift cards at reduced prices in return for cash or other gifts, and orchestrating phishing scams where they pose as retailers, urging consumers to pay with gift cards and thus divulge their personal information.
Gdovic mentioned that she talked to a representative at Target's guest services, who accessed the same details her friend's daughter encountered during her attempted purchase. However, she was informed that there was limited action that could be taken at the store level.
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