How scammers run out of Visa gift cards before you can use them – WSOC TV

STALLINGS, NC — Visa gift cards can be a popular gift for special occasions such as birthdays, graduations or holidays, but a man from Stallings says thieves used the cards he has purchased before his family could.

Tom Vinci says he bought six Visa gift cards worth $100 each and gave them to family members. When they tried to use the cards, three of them ran out and had zero balances.

“Tees off,” he told Action 9’s Jason Stoogenke. “Very frustrating.”

He was so frustrated that he posted about the scam on social media. “I had over 50 people say, ‘Well, that happened to me,'” Vinci said.

“(The scammers) will discreetly remove a bunch of cards from the rack, turn them over, expose activation information and take pictures, then put them back on the rack,” said AARP fraud expert Kathy Stokes.

She says sometimes scammers remove the gummy or silver security strips (and buy replacement strips online) or they hack into the card system remotely. Either way, the thieves are waiting for you to activate the card.

“As soon as that happens they can ping and clear that map,” Stokes said.

Vinci says her family complained to Visa as well as the bank that issued the card, the US Bank National Association, but ultimately verified that the money had not been replaced.

Visa told Stoogenke that it does not “hold the funds” on the gift cards and that he should ask the US Bank National Association. Stoogenke spoke to them by phone and email and requested an official response by Thursday, but he did not receive a response in time for this report.

Action Tips 9:

– Look at the card and make sure it does not look like it has been tampered with.

– Do not take the first of the rack. Get one in the back if you can.

– Consider buying gift cards online rather than on a display in a store.

(WATCH BELOW: Several customers say thieves stole money from their Chime account)

Michael N. Clark