Do you have any gift cards? Thieves have just developed a new scam for stealing the value of your card.
No, they don't do this at the rack in the store, as they have in the past, rather they do it in a much more stealthy way, if you are trying to sell your card.
Tried to Sell Card on Craigslist
While most of us might love to have a $400 Best Buy gift card, Zac Wagner of Middletown, Ohio needed cash more.
So he decided to sell his gift, posting his $400 card on Craigslist. In no time at all, he had an offer to buy it.
"Fourty-five minutes after I listed it, I got a call," Wagner said. "He asked me how much I wanted for it, and I confirmed $350 cash for my $400 card."
Wagner says the buyer started to arrange a hand off. "He wanted to meet me at the Best Buy down the road on my lunch break the next day," he said.
How the Scam Works
But then the buyer had one last request. "He asked if I could call and verify the card's value, because he didn't want to drive half an hour and end up with a bad gift card," Wagner said. "I figured that's reasonable, I would ask the same thing."
The buyer asked Wanger to call Best Buy while he was still on the line, punch in the gift card number, and confirm its value, in a 3-way call.
Wagner did it, and now can't believe what happened next.
"At that point he must have got the numbers from the gift card, and used it to spend almost all of it," he said.
An hour later someone drained the card, buying a $350 Playstation Bundle at a California Best Buy store.
Wagner believes the man who called him recorded his touch tones when he punched in the card number.
This appears to be a new trend, with news reports of Lowe's gift cards also drained this way, when someone punched in the numbers on their phone during a 3-way call.
There's really a lesson here for anyone thinking of unloading an unwanted gift card. Craigslist may not be your safest place to put it up for sale.
A Safer Way to Sell
A number of websites will take your gift card, then sell it for you, taking about 5% to 10% of the value as their profit.
The most popular sites include:
Some will pay you around 90% of the value up front, while others, like Raise, will pay you after it sells. Either way, they have anti-scam guarantees.
Best Buy tells me they are investigating this case, but typically cannot reimburse anyone for stolen gift card values.
Wagner says if you are trying to sell a gilt card, "don't call and confirm it on the phone, because they can steal the number based on touch tones, which was news to me."
This new scam is probably news to a lot of people, so don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.