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‘Card Draining’ scam targets gift cards nationwide: Victim identified in Victor

A new form of theft, known as “card draining,” is impacting gift card purchasers across the United States.

This scam involves criminals swiftly draining the value from gift cards, sometimes even before the buyer has left the store.

Wes Bailey from East Rochester experienced this firsthand when a $75 gift card he purchased from Wegmans and mailed to a relative in Victor was found to have only $0.05 left by the time the recipient checked its balance, according to News10NBC.

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The funds were depleted on December 6, a day before the card was received, highlighting the quickness of these thefts.

According to officials from AARP’s Fraud Watch Network, thieves steal gift cards from stores, record their serial and PIN numbers, and then return them to the shelves. Once a customer loads money onto the card, the criminals, using sophisticated algorithms, are notified and immediately drain the funds.

AARP advises purchasing gift cards from customer service desks, as they are less likely to be tampered with. Bailey, who also discovered a zero balance on a gift card he received, underscores the prevalence of this issue.

Police acknowledge the complexity and difficulty in detecting these sophisticated crimes. Consumers are advised to closely inspect gift cards for tampering and consider purchasing directly from the source for added security.