Money drained from gift cards before used by recipients; ABC11 Troubleshooter gets results

Gift card fraud has become an increasingly frustrating issue for consumers, affecting those who have received or purchased Vanilla Visa gift cards, only to discover their balances mysteriously drained. This problem caught the attention of Raleigh resident Dan Baker, a tennis coach who received two Vanilla Visa gift cards as a gesture of thanks from his team. Baker recounted how, after partially using one card without issue, he later found that both it and the untouched second card had zero balances, resulting in a total loss of approximately $140.

Similarly, David West faced the distressing surprise of discovering unauthorized transactions depleting the $300.00 balance of his Vanilla Visa gift card, which he had bought for travel expenses and had securely kept in his possession since purchase.

Both individuals embarked on the arduous journey of filing complaints, contacting the issuing company by phone and online, and even resorting to certified mail — a process that yielded no responses or resolutions from the card issuer.

The parent company of the Vanilla Visa prepaid cards, InComm Payments, has seen over thirteen hundred complaints filed against it within a twelve-month span, predominantly concerning gift cards being drained before legitimate use.

Upon the ABC11 Troubleshooter team’s intervention on behalf of West and Baker, InComm Payments responded, expressing regret over the inconvenience experienced by the consumers and asserting their dedication to fraud prevention. The company outlined measures for consumers to protect their gift cards, such as inspecting packaging for tampering, monitoring transactions, and contacting customer care immediately if issues arise.

Furthermore, InComm Payments informed that they were in the process of issuing replacement gift cards to West and Baker for the lost amounts, a resolution credited to the ABC11’s involvement[1].

To shield oneself from similar predicaments, consumers are advised to select gift cards from the back of the display rack, inspect for signs of tampering, ensure the card is not switched at checkout, and secure a receipt as proof of activation.

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