‘It says zero balance’: Woman says someone drained gift card before she could use it

CHARLOTTE — Patricia Jackson says she bought a Visa gift card for $500. She says when she got home, something made her check to make sure the money was there.

“It says zero balance. And I said that couldn’t be, I just purchased it,” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke. “I just had never known this to happen to anyone.”

But Stoogenke has known it to happen. He’s reported on the issue multiple times since 2019.

In Jackson’s case, Visa told her its name is on the card but Green Dot is the program manager.

Visa’s Full Statement:

“Visa is a payment network and does not issue or hold the funds deposited into prepaid payment cards. For concerns about possible fraud experienced on a prepaid or gift card, cardholders should first contact customer service for the card-issuing program manager and/or financial institution using the phone number on the back of the card. Cardholders may also contact the merchant where the cards were purchased. Merchants are responsible for ensuring the items or goods sold at their store are fit for the intended purpose and not damaged.”

Green Dot told Stoogenke, fraud prevention is a top priority and that it invests “heavily to identify, block and address” fraud, but Jackson says it wouldn’t replace the money.

Green Dot’s Full Statement:

“Account protection and fraud prevention are top priorities for us at Green Dot, and we work around the clock and invest heavily to identify, block and address fraudulent activity. We are committed to protecting our customers’ accounts and information and to preventing fraudulent activity across our industry. For example, we introduced new resources in our Green Dot Help Center aimed at helping customers protect themselves and prevent fraud, and we offer guidance to customers who have been impacted by fraud, including directing them to law enforcement and other appropriate measures, and supporting them through the process. We also serve as a proactive ally to government agencies and industry peers as we work together to prevent fraud.”

“I was very sad, and I was hurt,” Jackson said.

You can always tell police or consumer agencies such as the Attorney General’s office, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back.

Bottom line:

- Don’t grab a gift card from the front of the rack, get one from the back.

- Check the packaging and make sure it doesn’t look like someone tampered with it.

- You may want to buy gift cards online or just give cash instead.

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