Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thieves Find New Way to Steal Money From Gift Cards

From KXII.com (Oklahoma)

"What consumers may not know is that thieves don't always need the gift cards to take money off of them. In some cases, all they need is the receipt.

A Durant woman learned that the hard way this weekend, when a suspect made off with the money she planned to use to buy Christmas gifts for one of her kids.

Trina Sheffield needed a little help checking off her Christmas list this year, but a $150 gift card she was given to buy presents for her kids was wiped out, when someone found the receipt that was used to purchase it.

"You set so much back for each kid, and I've even let a couple of bills go to make sure that all of them had enough, and now I'm even more in debt," said Sheffield.

It's all because someone brought the gift card receipt to the Durant Wal-Mart, told the cashier the card had been lost or stolen, and had the money transferred onto another card.

"I hope the people that did it get caught, and I hope they really feel really bad for what they did and realize that they're not just taking from any individual, they're taking from five kids that really needed Christmas," Sheffield said.

Durant police are looking for the suspect, who would face misdemeanor criminal charges.

"It would definitely be a case of obtaining money by false pretenses. That falls in the same category as fraud and larsony," said Deputy Chief David Houser with the Durant Police Department.

It’s a crime punishable by a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Houser with the Durant Police Department says that while consumers need to be vigilant year-round, a spike in gift card sales means more chances for gift card fraud."


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