A former Wal-Mart employee was charged yesterday for stealing gift cards. The employee, who worked at a Manheim Township, PA Wal-Mart is accused of stealing 12 gift cards from customers. Here is how the scheme worked: When a customer buys a gift card, the employee will give them a gift card with no value on it. Once the customer leaves, the employee will then put the amount the customer paid on another gift card and use it to shop at the store.
This trend of cashiers stealing gift cards from customers is gaining ground and I covered it under the Gift Card Scam Series back in July 2008. So, how do you avoid becoming a victim of this scam? First, you need to pay attention to what the cashier is doing when you hand them the gift card. They will usually scan, swipe, or manually enter the card information into the system, then add the value you requested. The amount of gift card you are buying should appear on the screen. Once you pay for the gift card, check the back of the gift card and compare the serial number or card number with the number shown on the receipt. If you are unable to, ask the cashier to help you locate the gift card information on the receipt.
If you are not satisfied with the match, politely ask the cashier to check the balance on the card and print you a receipt for the balance. It may come across a bit odd or a little over the top but a cashier with nothing to hide should gladly help you make sense of your purchase.