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Plano Police Seize $649,000 Worth Of Gift Cards In Alleged Scam

Two suspects were arrested

The Plano Police Department's Forgery Unit, in cooperation with the United States Secret Service and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confiscated more than 4,100 gift cards altered illicitly and apprehended two suspects.

According to the Plano Police Department, the removal of tampered gift cards for Apple, Amazon, Sephora and Foot Locker from local stores prevented potential scams, saving customers close to $650,000.

The forgery unit in Plano, the U.S. Secret Service and ICE conducted surveillance on stores throughout North Texas, including H-E-B, Walmart, Tom Thumb-Albertsons, Walgreens and CVS.

During the investigation, police arrested two individuals, a man and a woman, but other arrests are likely after further investigation. 

The fraudulent scheme known as "gift card draining" involves scammers depleting the value of gift cards before their rightful owners can use them. Scammers typically obtain non-purchased gift card numbers and PIN codes by stealing them from stores. Despite these codes being initially concealed, scammers manage to unseal, tamper with and reseal them to avoid detection. 

The Plano Police Department advises the public to stay vigilant when buying gift cards and promptly report any suspicious behavior to law enforcement. Consumers should carefully examine gift cards before purchasing them and notify store staff if anything seems suspicious. Additionally, retaining the purchase receipt is crucial for establishing proof of purchase.

If you become a victim of gift card draining, here’s what to do:

  • If the gift card is for a specific store, contact the retailer and explain the missing funds, supported by the receipt.
  •  If it's a prepaid card, look at the back and contact the funds provider to report the stolen funds and attempt to recover any remaining balance.
  • File a report with the law enforcement agency where the card was purchased, as well as with the Federal Trade Commission.

If you have any additional information pertaining to this investigation, please call the tip line at 972-941-5555.

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