Hampton woman loses $ 200 after buying already activated gift card

HAMPTON, Virginia – A woman from Hampton received a $ 200 Vanilla Visa gift card from her deployed husband to use for gasoline and other necessities, but when she received it, the gift card already had been activated.

Cheyenne Reynolds said her husband bought the gift card from Walmart.com and mailed it a few days before Christmas. She then tried to use the gift card at a store, where it was refused.

“It was actually really embarrassing because I bet they thought I didn’t have the money, but it just wasn’t working,” Reynolds said. “I had to withdraw the money from our savings account and I will have to put the money back to replace it.”

She said she called Walmart, where a customer service rep told her the card was already activated. She waited a bit, tried to use it, then called back. The second time around, a representative told him that the card number did not exist.

Reynolds said that was when she knew she had been scammed.

“It’s very unfortunate that they took money from someone who was just trying to buy Christmas presents and get gasoline to get from point A to point B. It’s just not fair, ”Reynolds said.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers tips for buying and using gift cards safely. They include:

  • Stick to stores you know and trust. Avoid buying from online auction sites, as cards can be fake or stolen.
  • Check it before you buy it. Make sure the protective stickers are on the card and that they do not appear to have been tampered with. Also check that the PIN code on the back is not displayed. Get a different card if you spot a problem.
  • Keep your receipt. This, or the card ID number, will help you make a report if you lose the gift card.

If you received a gift card that has already been activated, report it to your local police department. You can also report it to the FTC.


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