NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - We get them from our friends and loved ones: Gift Cards.
But many people say instead of getting the items of their choice, they get shocked and ripped off when they find out either the card is fake or there’s no money on it.
“It said 0 balance,” Murfreesboro resident Melanie Hamby said.
Hamby was confused and angry after discovering a Walmart gift card her family purchased got drained by a scammer.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the scam happens in different ways, but essentially thieves look for opportunities to get the card and pin number, then wait for it to be activated and drain it.
“To think that you might give somebody $200 or $300 gift card, they go up and have a whole cart of groceries have to put things back cause the cards are not good,” Hamby said.
It’s a problem so widespread, several consumer groups like the FTC and the BBB routinely remind consumers to check a gift card before purchasing it to make sure it hasn’t been altered.
Melanie and her daughter Catherine say they hope something is done on a larger scale to protect consumers like them.
“They need to be secured so that people don’t have the opportunity to do what they’re doing,” Hamby said.
News 4 reached out to Walmart about Hamby’s incident. They released the following information:
“We care about our customers and it’s troubling that criminals would tamper with gift cards to steal from them. Like many retailers, we are continuing to look at this issue, our controls and how we can enhance our gift card program to further protect customers. If someone has questions or concerns, we encourage them to ask a member of management before following through with any purchase.
Additionally, customers can browse the following link for additional fraud prevention information: http://www.walmart.com/fraud. Within the link, one of the many things we call out is that we encourage customers to not purchase a gift card if it appears that the packaging has been altered or manipulated."
The Better Business Bureau has tips to avoid Gift Card Scams: https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/19087-scam-alert-checking-your-gift-card-balance-watch-out