PHOENIX - Shopping for loved ones can be difficult and that’s why retail experts say you can almost never go wrong with a gift card – until now.
Jeff Petersen was trying to do a nice thing for his family but ended up getting scammed. He doesn’t care so much about the money, but wants a change in the system as these gift cards were out in the open ready to be tampered with, he says
He's worried more victims will come forward.
"It showed the gift card credit of $300 for the one card, and then the next day it was gone. It was spent at Target," Petersen said.
Petersen bought four of Visa gift cards at the grocery store for his wife's children for the holidays.
"Four gift cards with $300 a piece, so $1,200," he said.
When the kids went to use them, he says, "All of them turned out to be scammed off the backend of them."
When he went to check the balance on one of them, he could see that all the funds were spent all at once at Target. He brought it up to the grocery management team who said they are looking into it.
Often times with this scam, it's all about the numbers that are on the card being stolen. Then it becomes a waiting game for the card to be activated.
Petersen suggests the cards should be kept behind glass or behind the registers. He doubts he will get his money back, but wants to warn others to give cash instead of cards.
"It’s not the grocery store's fault," he says. "It’s just bad people doing bad things."
The Retail Gift Card Association has some tips to protect yourself.
Check the card over for any physical damage, buy gift cards directly from a retailer, or send the gift card through a physical and trackable shipping method.