Not so sweet Vanilla

We celebrated my daughter’s birthday the other night with a nice dinner, a couple of cupcakes and a few gifts for her. One of the gifts my wife bought for her was a $100 Visa Gift Card, the one they call Vanilla.

After opening the card my daughter went online to register the gift card, as soon as she did, that the balance on the card was literally one cent, a penny! What happened to the other $99 and 99 cents??

Stolen credit

We called customer service and was told that online purchase was just made for $99.99 by someone in Texas named Jason. This was news to us because she had just taken the card out of the envelope that it came in. The customer service person was not encouraging, saying we had to lodge a fraud complaint that could take up to six weeks to resolve!

So much for customer care!

You can imagine our frustration with the process of being told that they would have to investigate the incident with no guarantee that we will be seeing any money back even though it was clearly a case of her being hacked the second she registered her gift card.

We did our own investigating

My wife Googled Visa Gift Card fraud and was stunned by the sheer amount of times this happens to unexpecting customers or gift card recipients.  Apparently this happens all the time and Visa is well of aware of it.  Many people report losing upwards of $500 to $1000 the exact same way our daughter did. Online scammers sit and wait for someone to register the card because they have a list of numbers and the PIN ready to go, before you know it, your money is gone, and good luck trying to get it back.

Watch this before you buy!

We are going to have wait and see what happens with our fraud case, but you should watch this before buying a gift card.