TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s the season of gift cards and gift card fraud.
Deniese Kragle, of Sarasota, learned this the hard way. Kragel, a personal trainer, received a gift from a client this week, but when she tried to use the $50 Vanilla Visa Gift card, she got bad news.
Someone had already used the card that morning, and they left her with nearly nothing.
“I registered the card at Vanillagift.com, and I put all the numbers in,” Kragle said. “I went ahead the next day to use the card, and I was at the market, and they said I only had 19 cents of the $50.”
This could happen to anyone.
Brian Oglesby, of the Better Business Bureau, tells me that crooks could use a skimmer to read the card’s magnetic strip. When consumers add value to the card, the crook spends the money before you can.
“The cards could be compromised in one of many ways,” he said. “They could be compromised before they even get to the store, they could be compromised at the store, there’s even a possibility that store clerks could compromise the card.”
Before you buy, the BBB recommends inspecting the card, looking for signs it has been tampered with, and don’t pick the first card on the rack.
As for Kragle, she learned that someone used her Visa card to load a PayPal account, so I called the company to make them aware. I was told a representative would contact her to look into this situation and see if her money can be tracked down.