Channel 2 Investigation: Sealed gift cards with no balances are popping up in the subway – WSB-TV Channel 2


ATLANTA — The gift cards looked untouched and the packaging had never been tampered with, but when Lisa Austin went to use them, they were empty.

“They look perfect. Totally sealed,” Austin told Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray.

The Nordstrom Rack gift card was a Mother's Day and birthday gift from Austin's son, who has autism.

“He had very little. He wanted to do something good for his mother,” she said.

in a Channel 2 Action News In an investigation last fall, we told you how this happens to gift cards whose envelope or packaging has never been opened.

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“It's a sealed envelope. Boom. Zero dollar balance,” David Rachel said.

“They're going to tell me, hey, did you give me a fake gift card? No, they weren't. So, I'm embarrassed,” Todd Edlin said.

The Retail Gift Card Association, a group representing gift card manufacturers, said the industry is taking steps to address more sophisticated fraud, including randomizing passwords and using technology that flags suspicious activity before, during and after initiation and redemption.

Nordstrom told Austin it would not refund the money.

“This is Chanel merchandise shipped overseas. I'm old and I've never owned Chanel in my life. But we help people,” Austin said.

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Channel 2 Action News Contacted Blackhawk, the company that issues and services Nordstrom gift cards.

Blackhawk said they will contact Austin to refund her money.

The RGCA recommends that when purchasing a gift card, you save the receipt as proof of purchase in case there is an issue with the card such as a glitch or fraud.

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