JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — (Editor's Note: The video above is from a related report from 2021)
A woman is warning others of a scam that has also targeted thousands around the country, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Alicia Windham says she purchased a gift card from Walmart for $100 for her daughter's Christmas present. However, when her daughter tried to use the card, the amount reportedly came back as a $0 balance.
"The day I purchased it, I wrapped it and put it under our Christmas tree. That was December 8, 2021" she explained Monday to First Coast News. "On Christmas Day, my child opened and tried to use their gift card, but it wouldn't work...so I went to customer service. They informed me it's a nationwide fraud and printed out the history of the gift card for me. It had actually been used several times in different states that I've never been to."
The mother of three is upset because she says Walmart is refusing to reimburse her, even though she never got to use the funds.
"I've been in contact with Walmart multiple times trying to get them to do the right thing and refund my money, but they informed me today they will not be refunding me," explains Windham.
She provided First Coast News with alleged copies of purchases made from the gift card in question. The majority of them were made in South Carolina.
She also forwarded along a correspondence with a Walmart representative, who emailed her the following statement about the card:
"We have reviewed your inquiry, unfortunately we have determined your case does not fall under the terms and conditions of a compromised gift card. We are unable to refund or replace this card. Walmart is not liable for lost, stolen or compromised funds..."
First Coast News has reached out to Walmart for a statement about the issue and is waiting to hear back.
The Better Business Bureau has reportedly received many complaints of this zero-balance phenomenon regarding gift cards.
The BBB says thieves are known to remove gift cards from the display rack and record the numbers associated with that card, including the activation PIN. Then, once the gift card is purchased, they attempt to use the information to buy items.
Several tips the BBB recommends following before purchasing a gift card:
- Take a closer look - If anything looks suspicious, it’s probably best to take a different card and turn in the compromised card to the store’s Customer Service Desk.
- Don’t wait forever to use it - The longer you hold it, the more opportunities for cybercriminals to steal the balance.
- Register your gift card - If the retailer allows the option to register the gift card, take full advantage. This makes it easier to protect the balance