Credit/Gift Card Theft Warning

Recently, I had a customer come through my till very near closing time. I had watched her and her partner come through the doors about 15 minutes before closing time and groaned the usual groan that anyone does when people come in that late. They did a very quick shop. I believe we had already announced our first warning that the store was closing soon. When we did the second announcement, they came to my till. The man left and returned immediately to their vehicle. Someone noticed that he pulled right up to the front doors of the store waiting for her. She handed a card to me for payment and if you could see the number of cards I see in a day, seeing a card that may or may not really be very different doesn't mean a lot. I "swiped" the card. I received a message that said "voice authorization req'd". Sometimes the computers will give out odd messages so I swiped it again. I knew what credit card company it was because before I swipe the card I must make that choice. After swiping it, I realized it looked a little different than any card I had seen but that didn't bother me because - as I said - I see so many. When the card didn't work I asked what kind of card it was. The response was that it was a gift card. Now for those of you who don't know, before Christmas, Visa introduced a visa gift card. Our instructions were that we were not to accept the gift card unless the holder of the card knew the exact balance. The other credit card companies have also introduced gift cards now as well. I had not asked her the balance because I had not realized it was a gift card. Once she told me it was, I started to hand the card back to her because to me, it probably didn't have a balance left since my computer turned it down. I was about to ask for an alternate source of payment.
A co-worker stepped up, removed the card from my hand and proceeded to try the card in smaller increments. Oddly enough, it seemed to work. She cont'd on until the full balance of the order went through the card. Somewhere along the way, the floor manager had joined us and was also watching this process. I was un-comfortable with what was happening because as stated again, I thought I was at a junction where I could not accept the card as payment. At the end of the payment from the gift card, the floor mgr. stated he felt un-comfortable and felt we should not go through with the sale. The woman then demanded cash for the "money" we had taken from her gift card. Naturally, the safest thing to do was let her leave with the groceries and hope the card was okay.
The card was a fraud but worse than that, it actually went through somone's account. There is a new fraud situation happening whereby they are removing part of the card with the heat of an iron and transferring it onto a gift card or something to that effect. I'm not sure what the process is as I have not been told the complete story. I'm not sure that the people involved in being taken in (me and my two co-workers) were appraised of the actual method used. The next day, they went to another store, same name, only blocks away and did the same thing and the cashier again, willing looked after the customer by downsizing the amount in smaller increments to see how much of the groceries could be sold.
There is more to come to this story but none I can tell right now. It's just a warning to you to watch your credit cards and if they are lost, don't hesitate to call them in right away. I don't know about anyone else but I do know that I will never give the gift of a credit card gift certificate. The recipient, must sign for the purchase in the same manner that the owner of the card would sign. This person signed, gave an address but was conveniently not carrying any ID.
I'm not sure but it appears that the original gift card may have belonged to one person and the front of the card belonged to another person. Bizarre! The police are wondering how the card worked at all, even in smaller increments. It must have something to do with small amounts being allowed on cards. I know that years ago, Visa allowed a $50.00 purchase without doing much in the way of checking the purchase. This purchase should never have worked but for some strange reason, it did. I'll let you know if they are ever apprehended here but, I'm sure this is not the only place it's happening.
good information, thanks.
no new posts