EPPICard Scam & Fraud

new york eppicard

The EPPICard, also known as the Child Support Card is a prepaid debt card that is used by a number of states to make unemployment,  child support and other welfare payments to recipients. The cards are issued under the Visa or MasterCard brand and are currently used in 25 states. They are managed on behalf of the states by Affiliated Computer Services, or ACS, which is owned by Xerox.

The EPPICard has been a recent target of a variety of internet scams, the most common being “phishing” attacks. Usually, a phishing email requests that the user log in to verify their account status, but re-directs them to a fake site, where their log in information is then captured, to be used later to access their account, steal personal information and funds.

How To Avoid The Scam

  • Do not access your EPPICard information from public computer terminals, including libraries, Internet cafes or unsecured Wifi locations.
  • Do not respond to suspicious e-mails that appear to be sent by Eppicard or ACS. If you are unsure, call the EPPICard customer service number listed on the back of your card. If you do not have the customer service number, you can find that information here (just select your state from the drop down menu).
  • Do not open email attachments from senders you are not familiar with. If you recieve an unusual attachment from a familiar source, contact them first before opening it.
  • Shred or destroy old EPPICard statements. Do not just throw them away.
  • Carefully monitor your transaction history on the Eppicard website and report all unauthorized purchases immediately.
  • If you lose your EPPICard or think it is stolen, report it immediately so that the card can be cancelled and a new one issued to you.
Posted in EPPICard, Gift Card Fraud Tagged with: ,

E-Gift Cards Rising In Popularity

A Continuous Phenomenon

Day by day, e-gift cards are growing in popularity and retailers are jumping on the bandwagon. This is revolutionizing gift giving in many ways, essentially driving gift card exchange behind the scenes.

E-gift cards are popping up in multiple forms. Most retailers are turning to the e-mail recipient method however many can be brought up on a smartphone. Amazon even provides a facebook delivery method which may very well be the method of the future.

In most cases, one can set a delivery time for these gift card transactions making things very easy for gift card consumers.

By The Numbers

BankRate.com released an annual gift card survey last November which found that 51 percent of 63 popular gift cards it reviewed offered an e-card option which was 10% higher than the previous calendar year.  Of the 45 retailers surveyed, 26 had e-card options including the like of Macy’s, Starbucks, Best Buy, and Target.

Rebekka Rea, executive director at the Retail Gift Card Association said “Retailers are adding them in droves,”  and that “It’s definitely something that if retailers don’t have now, they are behind.”

But why you might ask? Just imagine that you remember your brother’s birthday is tomorrow and you need to get him a gift card 5 states away. Why not drop something nice in his inbox at ease and your convenience?

Another negative of hard plastic gift cards is the cost. Some retailers are charging hard card fees as well as any shipping charges you may face online.

Chief executive of CashStar.com, David Stone said “There are two reasons why consumers don’t use gift cards today. We don’t have time to go to the store or wait for the plastic to be shipped and they’re not personal enough”.

With technological development comes market advancements. The world of e-gifting is growing rapidly and is sure to continue peaking. As more retailers make this option available, we as consumers continue to reap the benefits of this change.

Popular Retailers Who Offer E-Gift Cards

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Gift Cards For Children

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Sometimes purchasing gift cards for children can be a hard decision. We often find ourselves at a loss for what’s hip or cool. The generation gap can prove to be an obstacle for parents, family, and friends alike. Let’s be honest, no one wants to buy a gift for a child if they have no use for or aren’t going to enjoy spending it. Some gift cards though, are almost always going to hold value and will most likely appeal to children no matter their personality, hobbies, or interests. This list is broken up into categories by age and will specify boy or girl if it pertains, beginning with gift cards proper for all ages.

All Ages

Ben & Jerry’s

Even adults love ice cream but most children probably like it even more. The safe bet here is that if a kid doesn’t like ice cream or is lactose intolerant, you will most likely already be aware. Ben & Jerry’s, a popular ice cream shop with locations all across the country, offers individual pint coupons for only $4. These coupons can be redeemed at any retail store that sells B&J pints or at an official Ben & Jerry’s shop.

Target

Why Target and not Walmart? Well, Walmart gift cards are pretty universal too but Target carries more appeal for children. For starters, the cards themselves are more fun and personal. Their cards are much more engaging, like the light up Christmas line.

Target also has carries inventory, specifically clothes, geared more towards the appeal of children. Their clothing selection is extremely diverse and “cool” for lack of a better term.

Cinema/Movie gift card

Movies are getting a bit expensive these days. There is always something in theaters for kids of any age. Giving the gift of a cinema gift card is almost a sure bet for success. This gives children the option to use their card to do something with a friend or family member which is a bonus in itself.  For those older boys, it gives them a chance to take a special someone on a movie date, which is an inevitable adolescent experience we have all surely enjoyed. Regal Cinemas seems to be the most populated location and we would suggest using them.

Ages 6-9

Boys

Lego Store 

Lego Store gift cards are downright awesome. The cards themselves are extremely creative and the options for redemption are endless. Lego has done the job of appeal for you, with features like Spongebob, Harry Potter, Super Heroes, and even Architecture collections.

Gamestop

This is for the gamer. As technology continues to evolve, younger children become more prone to video game and computer exposure. Gamestop offers everything from video games to systems and accessories as well as movies. With a huge selection, a Gamestop gift card gives the recipient the chance to select from many options.

Girls

Build A Bear Workshop

Build-A-Bear workshop gift cards are more than just pick and buy. At Build-a-bear, kids are given the chance to engage in a fun activity where they actually complete the process of creating their very own stuffed animal. From choosing an animal adding the heart, these workshops offer an actual connection between the child and their product which can last for years to come. The experience is worth just as much as the stuffed animal they walk out of the store with.

Toys-R-Us

This one is actually a solid bet for boys and girls. Toy-R-Us is like a wonderland for any young child with isles full of toys, games, bikes, and more. You can be sure that any kid’s eyes will light up when they get their Toy-R-Us gift card and they realize that they will soon get to make the trip of every young child’s dream.

Ages 10-15

Best Buy

Consider Best Buy as the Toys-R-Us for tweens. With everything and anything electronic you could ask for, a Best Buy gift card basically can’t go wrong. This provides the chance to redeem the gift for new releases, new technology, and car audio. These cards are sure to put a smile on every kids face.

Visa Gift Card

Why not give them the gift of any choice. That is essentially how a Visa Gift Card functions, able to be redeemed anywhere Visa is accepted. Not to be confused with a Visa prepaid card, Visa gift cards do not carry all the fees and are flat rate. These are non-reloadable, like a Vanilla card.

Should You Receive A Gift Card That You Don’t Want

Don’t let it go to waste. Try using GiftCardRescue.com, where you can exchange gift card, or even sell gift card for money back on every dollar. With over 350 partnered merchants, GCR provides an easy, secure, and transaction guaranteed service tailored to those who find themselves with unwanted cards just like you. Visit their website or give them a call today and let their top notch customer service team help you out.

 

Posted in Gift Card Questions & Answers, Popular Gift Cards, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Whole Foods Gift Card Balance Check & Review

whole foods

Built On Standards

Whole Foods is the world leader in natural and organic foods with over 310 stores in North America alone. A company based on strict standards, Whole Foods a model for grocery stores everywhere. Whole Foods attributes their success based on a mission to provide “food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives — is the best tasting and most nutritious food there is.” (Directly from their website).

Aside from their product standards, Whole Foods is polished all around. I came to this conclusion when I visited the gift card page on their website where I became thoroughly impressed with the layout, available options, and general ease of navigation.

Gift Card Review

Whole Foods offers an array of options when it comes to their gift certificates. The first option consumers have is between physical cards and a mobile/email card. Yes, I said mobile. WF gives you the opportunity to send a gift via SMS.

Physical:

  • Eight choices of gift card images for birthdays and celebrations
  • Amounts: $20-$500
  • Optional personalized message
  • Free ground shipping

Email/Mobile:

  • Recipient receives card instantly
  • Option to print OR display certificate on smartphone for use (WOW!)
  • Amounts: $20-$500
  • Optional personalized message

Whole Foods gift cards also have the ability to be reloaded. They offer a one time reload online where you can deposit funds directly from your bank account onto the card up to $500.  Also offered is a gift card account feature which provides customers the chance to manage the gift card. If you sign up for an account you can set up auto reloads based on a schedule or a minimum balance as well as view transaction history and gift card balance.

Check Your Balance

To no surprise, Whole Foods makes it very seamless and easy to check your cards balance. You can do any one of the following:

  • Call customer service at 866.833.5591
  • Register for a gift card account. (Suggested method)
  • Visit the website here. On the bottom right side of the page you will be asked for the gift card number. Plug it in and click “Check Balance”.

 

Whole Food Gift Card FAQ’S

Q. Is there an additional cost for gift cards bought online?

A. No. There is no additional cost for gift cards bought online. Also no activation, service or inactivity fees.

Q. Do you charge a service fee? Does my card expire?

A. No,  their cards never expire and we have never assessed a service fee to use our gift cards or for inactivity. Some of their older cards have some verbiage about a $2/fee, but this was never enacted, and will not be in the future.

Q. What happens if my gift card has been lost in the mail?

A. Please be sure that you allow enough time for the card to be processed and shipped. After that time, please call the helpline at (866)833-5591 or email wholefoods@vcdelivery.com so we can track your card.

Q. Can I resell my Whole Foods Market gift card?

A. Unfortunately you cannot sell gift card or exchange gift card. Whole Foods market only permits resale of gift cards through our non-profit fundraising program.

Q. If a gift card is lost or stolen, can it be replaced?

A. Gift cards cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. Gift cards should be treated like cash. For this reason, Whole Foods advises you to choose UPS for your shipping method as it is more secure. Under certain circumstances and if the card has not been redeemed, WF may be able to reissue a card if you have your gift card number and proof of purchase.

Posted in Gift Card Balance Check, Gift Card Questions & Answers Tagged with: , , , ,

How To Prevent Gift Card Fraud

gift card fraud

Be Informed

Gift cards are becoming more popular every year leading to a plethora of merchant options for consumers. These days, you can buy gift cards just about anywhere from the actual retailer to convenience stores, internet auctions and more. With more options available to buyers comes more viable ways for scammers to attack. Here is an example of a scheme used by scam artists recently which has made news across the country:

The crooks have found a way to rob you of your gift card balance. If you buy Gift Cards from a display rack that has various store cards you may become a victim of theft.

Crooks are now jotting down the card numbers in the store and then wait a few days and call to see how much of a balance THEY have on the card. Once they find the card is “activated,” they go online and start shopping.

You may want to purchase your card from a customer service person, where they do not have the Gift Cards viewable to the public.

Although this may seam highly unlikely to happen to you the truth is that is has actually become a popular plot. Where does this kind of scam occur? Any retail or convenience store with card displays that are not controlled or behind the register. Frauds can jot down the pin and card number before waiting for activation. Once activated, they are able to expend the funds online essentially leaving you with nothing. This became a huge problem this past holiday season due to the fact that consumers would activate cards at purchase before giving them as gifts. The period in between became a perfect window for gift card fraud.

More Gift Card Scams and Threats

  •  Counterfeit, used, or stolen gift cards for sale on auction websites
  • Scam artists who lie about the available funds and sell the cards on auction sites. Buyers do not get what they think they purchased.
  • Using stolen credit cards to buy gift cards before turning to resale for profit.

How To Protect Youself From Becoming A Victim

  1. Steer clear of purchasing from online auctions. These are just crawling with fake,stolen, and used gift cards wating to be purchased.
  2. Do not purchase gift cards from public display racks. As discussed, this is the easiest place for scam artists to take down card information before they wait for activation.
  3. Purchase cards directly from the distributing retailer. For example: Purchase an American Eagle gift card AT American Eagle.
  4. Always examine the gift card. Do not purchase cards with exposed pins or those which look suspicious of tampering.
  5. When purchasing online, use a secure site. Sites like GiftCardRescue specialize in gift card exchange, sell gift card, and buy gift cards. Here you can buy discounted cards and even sell unwanted for cash back on every dollar with the security of a guaranteed purchase.
  6. Register your card online at the retailers site if at all possible. This way you can track spending and account activity.
  7. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Don’t fall for online stunts for free gift cards. This seems to be a big problem via social media like facebook and twitter. Let’s be honest. There is no way WalMart is going to give away thousands of $100 gift cards. Don’t fall for pitches like these.
  8. Never give out any personal information. Social Security number, date of birth, account information. Reputable companies should NEVER need this and should not even ask.

 

Posted in Gift Card Fraud Tagged with: , , , , ,

Kroger Gift Card Balance Check & Review

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Kroger gift cards are great ways to give or receive. After all, everyone needs groceries. One of the awesome things about grocery gift cards is that they can almost always be redeemed with coupons or other store offers, which can maximize a shopper’s experience. Also, you can earn fuel discounts with the in store purchase of retail gift card.

Ways To Save At Kroger

 1.) Visit Kroger.com – Immediately when the page loads, a prompt appears asking for Zip code. This is so Kroger can direct any regional or local savings towards you, the consumer.

2.) Check local print such as a daily paper or mass distributed coupon books.

3.) Get the Kroger 1-2-3 Rewards Visa Card – Enables the customer to save an extra $.05 a gallon on gas and compiles reward points that can eventually add up to more savings.

How To Check Your Balance

1.) Locate The following on the back of your card

  • Gift Card #
  • Pin #

2.) Visit the designated balance check site here OR call customer service balance check hotline at 1-866-822-6252.

NOTE: If you are missing or do not know the PIN number, you must call the customer service number.

3.)Enter the information in the space provided on the website and proceed by clicking “check balance”.

4.) Your balance should load. If a problem occurs or you do not agree with the amount shown we suggest you call the  service hotline.

More About Kroger Gift Cards

1.) Available in amounts from $10-$250

2.) Reloadable at any in store cashier

3.) Kroger provides a wide range of card designs and themes for birthdays and holidays.

FAQS

What is a Kroger Family of Stores Gift Card?

The Kroger Family of Stores Gift Card is a pre-paid debit card similar to a gift certificate that can be used to buy merchandise or fuel at any Kroger family store.

Can anyone use my Gift Card?

Yes, treat the Card like cash. Your name does not appear on the Card. You may use it yourself or give it to anyone you choose.

How do I purchase a card denomination not listed on the order form?

Customize your Gift Card value by combining any number of Card denominations in your order.

What products can I purchase with my Gift Card?

Use your Gift Card to purchase any merchandise in-store, as allowed by law, with the exception of  Courtesy Desk Services. Services include money orders, lottery tickets, stamps, hunting/fishing licenses and Western Union.

Can Gift Cards be used for online purchases?

Sorry, not at this time.

Does the Kroger Family of Stores Gift Card ever expire?

No, so long as value remains on the Card; however, if a Card has a zero balance for longer than 90 days, the Card will become inactive and value can no longer be loaded onto the Card.

 

Posted in Gift Card Balance Check, Gift Card Questions & Answers, Visa Prepaid & Gift Cards Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Intuit GoPayment Prepaid Visa Card Review

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The Intuit GoPayment mobile payment program, which is a mobile credit card reading device tandemed with a mobile App, has added a prepaid card to compliment it’s credit processing strategy. Intuit says that this with provide a convenience for users using a Visa prepaid account linked to GoPayment.

“The GoPayment Card adds new value to those using GoPayment. In addition to helping them get paid, we’re helping them make payments,” said Chris Hylen, vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Payment Solutions division.

Here’s How It Works:

The GoPayment card is available exclusively to GoPayment users. You can sign up on GoPayment.com or with the GoPayment App. They App and the card scanner, which can be inserted directly into your mobile device, are offered for free. Users can accept GoPayment credit card transactions and the funds will then be distributed into their account within two or three business days. The GoPayment Visa Card may subsequently be used to manage and obtain the funds in the account, anywhere Visa cards are accepted.

The Fine Print: Charges, Fees, and Monthly Allowances

  • No sign-up or monthly maintenance fees–> (Pay-as-you-Go plan)
  • One free ATM withdrawal per month
  • One free account transfer per month
  • Transaction charges range between 1.7% and 2.7%

More Features:

  • No bank account required for initial enrollment
  • Great for separating business funds and personal finances
  • Users can still have funds deposited into their personal bank account

Summary:

The GoPayment program and Visa prepaid card is a great way for businesses or individuals without business bank accounts to oversee finances as well as accept payments on the spot. Yes, there are surcharges associated but this bodes true to just about every prepaid card. Considering that enrollment and hardware (card scanner) come free, the charges associated are relatively fair.

Posted in Top Rated Prepaid Cards, Visa Prepaid & Gift Cards Tagged with: , , , ,

Gift Cards For Medical Procedures

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There is now a gift card which can be used for medical procedures, giving individuals the opportunity to provide under/uninsured friends or family with medical services. Life Gift Cards (LGC) has produced and launched a program for health and wellness gift cards, the first of it’s kind. With it’s initial launch, LGC developed a mammogram gift card service that derives from it’s motivation to actually start the program.

“Presenting a loved one with a Life Gift Card for a mammogram is truly a life-saving gesture, especially since research proves that one in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer,” board certified obstetrician, gynecologist, and LGC spokesperson Harry Collins said.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and many fatalities can be prevented by early detection through mammography. This gift card is an awesome way for individuals to provide life saving services to loved ones who otherwise would not be able to provide it for themselves.

Healthcare providers that choose to become partnered provider will see an increase in patient activity,  services, and guaranteed payment for practice.

How Does The Card Work?

First visit the site to buy a card. The recipient can activate the card by following the directions in the follow up email or by calling the LGC office. LGC will email the recipient and notify them of the nearest partnered provider where they can redeem the voucher. The recipient will then print out the card and make an appointment. For those without internet access, LGC will send the card through regular mail.

  • Non-reloadable
  • Not redeemable for cash
  • One time use
  • No expiration

Can I use my card for other services?

At this time the card may only be redeemed for mammogram screening procedures. Other related fees or services are the responsibility of the patient  and LGC holds no bearing for incurring procedures. They are however, working with partners to provide a wider range of gift card medical services.

 

Posted in Popular Gift Cards, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,

Can I Use Gift Cards For Credit Card Debt?

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Most reports online claim that consumers are not able to potentially redeem gift cards for personal credit debt.  This claim however, proves to be false because there is in fact a way to cover a portion of debt with a gift card. There are a few requirements and at the end of the day, your’e financial institution needs to accept this form of transaction for it to work. This is how you can make it happen:

  1. Major Issuer-Gift Card must be issued by major banking authority like Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. This means the card will most likely bare the issuer emblem on the bottom right corner if it is eligible.
  2. Split-Tender Transaction- Ask your bank for a split-tender transaction. This means you will pay on the debt by means of gift card along with another payment. Make sure you have excess personal funds to distribute along with the funds from the card. Do not expect to attempt to pay the full amount of the bill with your gift card. This option is not available.

About Split Tender Transactions

Split tender transactions occur when two methods of payment are used. It is likely that this is most prevalent when consumers go to spend the last few dollars on their gift cards in retail outlets. Some smaller retailers do not allow these transactions simply because their point of sales (POS) machines are not made for it. The split tender transactions discussed in this post are strictly to be made over the phone with a dedicated financial representative.

Should your gift card not be honored for one of these split tenders, I suggest trying to sell gift cards with GiftCardRescue. GiftCardRescue.com offers a program where consumers can earn up to $.92 back on every dollar. This is a great way to get cash back with which you can then use to pay bills.

Posted in Gift Card Questions & Answers, Make Money with Gift Cards, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,

Tips For Holiday Gift Cards

helpful tips

It was estimated that each American would receive at least one gift card over the winter holiday season.  For many reasons though, millions of dollars each year go unspent on gift cards. Chances are, some received cards of no personal value and decided to stick them in a drawer somewhere. Others like me, may spend weeks debating on how to spend it and eventually forget about it. My advice, use your gift cards sooner rather than later unless they are for something like Starbucks where multiple gift card transactions are necessary to diminish the card’s balance. Here are some tips to help you with those gift card decisions:

1.) Remember Necessity Over Frivolous Spending = Win

For those of you with the $50 or $100 Walmart gift cards, this one is for you. Impulse might tell a lot of you to upgrade your life in the electronics department with every dollar you have. A good approach I try to take to this situation is the 80/20 rule. If you purchase necessities like toilet paper, soap, groceries, and other NEEDS. This will free up budget in the immediate future. With the other 20%, go ahead and treat yourself to a movie or something. It can be fun trying to meet that $20 cap at the end of shopping for something you WANT.

2.) Re-gifting Never Hurts

No I  don’t mean re-give the gift card. Have a loved one or friend with a birthday coming up? Instead of forcing a personal purchase, use the gift card to buy something for them instead. This saves you money you would have probably spent anyway.

3.) Trade OR Redeem For Cash

There are some great sites to exchange or sell gift cards like GiftCardRescue.com. Gift Card Rescue offers consumers the chance to swap gift cards and even to earn up to $.92 back on every dollar.  This route might take a little research and work but it is surely worth it once you reap the benefits of the savings they provide. GCR accepts cards from over 350 vendors and offers trades for credit with merchants such as Amazon.

4.) Donate To Charity And Feel Good

If you really don’t happen to need a gift card, or are feeling extra generous, there are some options available for you to donate to charities. That gift card might not mean much to you, but to someone else it could mean everything. Works Of Life is a non profit Christian organization that combines smaller donated gift cards into larger cards to help needy individuals and families. GiftCardGiver distributes donated cards to non profit organizations which in turn, use the funds to help the less fortunate. GiftCardGiver also offers the option to throw a house party, meaning that you invite your friends over and collect their unused gift cards to make one bulk donation.

 

 

Posted in Gift Card Questions & Answers, Popular Gift Cards Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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This blog covers a wide range of topics regarding gift cards , including gift card codes , how to buy gift cards online , information on gift card balance, and where to buy itunes, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Visa, American Express and many other cards.