Gift Card Scam Warning Issued
Fraudsters are recording activation codes, Schumer warns
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2011 3:50 AM CST
"Can you imagine, getting a nice gift card, $50 from Macy's, and you go to use it and it's been used up already by some scammer?" Schumer asked.    (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

(Newser) – People buying gift cards for friends and family this Christmas should make sure that the concealing measures haven't been removed, Chuck Schumer warns. The senator from New York says fraudsters have been visiting stores where the cards are on the shelves and recording access codes in order to drain the card's balance as soon as it is activated, the New York Daily News reports.

"The system all too many stores use now is a free buffet for scammers and crooks that can leave unsuspecting victims with a valueless piece of plastic by Christmas Day," Schumer says. The senator has written to the National Retail Federation and the Retail Gift Card Association urging them to tackle fraud by ensuring stores sell the cards from behind the counter and shoppers are warned of the threat. Schumer says he'd also like to see retailers refund the value of cards that have been drained by scammers.