Customers say their Amazon Visa gift cards are “compromised”

As we enter the peak period of gift card purchases, a concerning trend of gift card fraud has emerged, highlighting the risks consumers face even when taking precautions. Shannon Greer, a former employee of a gift card manufacturer, shared her unwelcome experience with CBS News Texas in a vivid demonstration of the persistent vulnerability in the gift card market.

In November, Greer purchased a $200 Visa gift card online via Amazon, a method she thought would shield her from the common fraud associated with in-store purchases. Greer, armed with insider knowledge from her years in the industry, consciously avoided buying gift cards displayed on storefront endcaps, knowing they are often targets for fraudsters.

Despite her careful approach and immediate registration of the card, Greer encountered a startling discrepancy when she checked her balance—merely five days post-purchase, the card’s balance had plummeted to just 34 cents, a clear sign of unauthorized use.

Greer’s case is not an isolated incident. The CBS News Texas I-Team’s investigation revealed a pattern of similar complaints from other consumers who had purchased the same Visa gift card through Amazon. With nearly 40 complaints documented in Amazon reviews from June of this year onwards, it’s evident that even the perceived safety of purchasing gift cards online does not entirely eliminate the risk of fraud.

This situation serves as a cautionary tale, compelling consumers to vigilantly check their gift card balances shortly after acquisition and to report any suspicious activity immediately. As gift card fraud continues to evolve, even savvy shoppers like Greer can find themselves caught off-guard, underscoring the importance of awareness and diligence during the gift card season.

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