News5 viewer says prepaid card was drained by someone right after buying it

Investigators warn of criminals shoplifting cards to access codes and returning them to shelves to steal from unsuspecting consumers who purchase them
News5 viewer says prepaid card was drained by someone right after buying it
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 09:34:05-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — If you plan to buy someone a gift card, or prepaid card from a store, consumers need to ask themselves if they know for sure that the gift card hasn't been tampered with.

The hard part is that it’s often difficult to tell and if you put money on a card that’s been compromised the crooks can drain that money instantly. This leaves the consumer empty handed.

We recently did a storywarning you about a crime trend that’s allowing people to drain money from gift cards the moment they’re purchased. Now, these crimes are hitting close to home.

”We were just dumbfounded because we didn’t understand how this could happen,” said News5 viewer Derek Pierce who says he purchased a prepaid card from a convenience store in Colorado Springs right before the holidays.

Then, just minutes after purchasing the card, Pierce says he got awful news.

"We went to activate the card and it was already activated in someone else’s name and as a matter of fact they had already purchased $202,” said Pierce.

That was all of the money he had just put on the card. He went back to the store and contacted the company on the card.

”Not only are they telling me my money is not there, but the card isn’t even mine and I just bought it,” said a frustrated Pierce.

He says he found out local criminals shoplifted the card he bought, got access to the sensitive codes and then put it back on the rack where he picked it up and put money on it. The crooks set up notifications which alerted them to the money being loaded on the card and they spent the money.

He hopes if anyone has a similar experience they will report it because he believes this is a crime that deserves attention.

”If we don’t look out for each other as consumers and have some protection from people like News5 we can really get into some serious issues with people stealing lots of things. Not just money from a prepaid card,” said Pierce.

Two other things consumer protection experts say to watch for…

Be careful checking the balance of gift cards online. Many fraudsters say they’ll tell you your balance, but once you enter your card information they’ll drain it.

Also, please never use a gift card to pay someone. Gift cards should be gifts. Many scammers want payments in gift cards so they can drain your money and move on. No legitimate company will use that method for payment.


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