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Major Retailers Hit By ‘Card Draining’ Scam: Countless Gift Cards Rendered Worthless



Clear Facts

  • Police across the country are warning consumers about a “card draining” scam that is making gift cards from Target and other retailers worthless.
  • The scam involves thieves accessing the information on the back of the gift card, loading it, and then draining the funds before the recipient can use it.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has reported a 50% increase in gift card fraud this year compared to last year.

Suzanne Gdovic, a Colorado resident, recently fell victim to a “card draining” scam that is rendering gift cards from Target and other retailers useless. “I was really shocked by it,” she said on “Fox & Friends First.”

Gdovic had loaded a Target gift card with $200 for a friend whose daughter was expecting a baby. Unbeknownst to her, the card had already been compromised.

“I gave it to her. She went to Target to try to use it, and she was at the cash register checking out, and she was told there was a zero balance on the card and was also told that the gift card was assigned to another person’s account,” she explained.

Upon speaking to a store manager, Gdovic learned about the scam.

“My particular gift card, the back of it was exposed, so it was very easy for them to access the information off the back of the card. That protective security code had been scratched off, numbers were taken when they took that gift card out of the store. Then they expertly [put] back on that silver lining,” she said.

The thieves had all the information they needed. “I loaded it, and when they have an elaborate scheme [they use] the computer with the coding to figure out when you put the money on the card, and then they stole that money off the card way before she went into the store to use it,” she added.

This incident comes as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) revealed a 50% increase in reported gift card fraud this year compared to last year.

Barry Duggan, a patrol sergeant from the Pinole Police Department in California, warned of another method thieves are using to steal the card codes for themselves.

“Somebody was taking [gift] cards from the store without paying for them and without loading them up… And what they do is they heat up these envelopes to where they can open them as carefully as they can, remove the card and actually cut the top of the card off,” he said.


The scammer keeps the portion of the card that contains the code and puts the bottom portion back into the envelope before re-gluing it shut. “Just like that, you have a brand new gift card that you think that you’re getting for your person for Christmas,” Duggan said.

“CyberGuy” Kurt Knutsson also highlighted other creative tactics scammers are using, such as impersonating friends or loved ones to trick victims into thinking someone they know urgently needs money. They also sell gift cards at a discounted rate in exchange for money or other gifts, or run phishing scams where they impersonate a retailer and ask consumers to pay with a gift card, thereby gaining access to their information.

Gdovic spoke to a Target guest services representative who confirmed the same information her friend’s daughter received when she attempted the purchase, but was told that not much could be done at the store level.

After “a process and a lot of persistence,” Gdovic was able to get her $200 back from Target. She offered advice for future gift card purchases, urging viewers to photocopy the cards they buy and keep all receipts.

“When you do make that phone call… you need to be able to send them all of this information and be persistent and don’t take no for an answer. Also, you can dispute the charge on your credit card, and they’re very helpful because they consider this fraud and theft, and they will dispute that charge until you’re able to resolve it. But Target, I stuck to it, and I was able to get that gift card replaced by Target gift card services,” she said.

Clear Thoughts (op-ed)

The recent surge in “card draining” scams is a stark reminder of the growing threat posed by cyber-criminals.

Target and other retailers are falling prey to this insidious scheme, leaving innocent consumers like Suzanne Gdovic, a Colorado resident, with worthless gift cards.

The Better Business Bureau reports a 50% increase in gift card fraud this year – a worrying trend that reflects our society’s increasing reliance on digital transactions.


As retailers and law enforcement scramble to combat this issue, it’s crucial that we, as consumers, remain vigilant.

We must also demand better preventative measures from retailers.

It’s not just about the financial loss, but the erosion of trust in our digital economy.

Remember, the best defense against such scams is awareness and precaution.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.




  1. Go Woke Go Broke commie joe

    December 22, 2023 at 6:45 pm

    And this is what commie traitor joes criminal America look like the criminals get away with this constantly because commie joe refuses to acknowledge big tech is compromised and has been for quite some time but don’t worry commie joe won’t be on the job as usual he’s hiding in the basement being a perv of destruction! Go Woke Go Broke commie joe! And FYI really target you traitors went to that leftist Woke company I didn’t spend a dime their the went woke their BOYCOTTED as is Macy’s and so many other leftist Woke companies!

  2. Steely

    December 22, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    Something that Target and other retailers can do to prevent this is either keep gift card inside register drawers or put the gift cards behind a locked cabinet (like they do with other high-theft items). Customers can then request the gift cards at checkout.

  3. ARJAY

    December 23, 2023 at 3:04 am

    Instead of giving gift cards (that can be used at only one store that YOU choose) give CASH that the recipient can use at ANY store THEY choose !

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