Hahn Calls on Retailers to Protect Consumers from Gift Card Draining Scam

San Pedro, CA – This morning, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn held a press conference calling on retailers to better protect consumers from a growing gift card scam problem amid holiday shopping. Just last week, Supervisor Hahn bought a Vanilla gift card at a CVS for her nephew’s birthday that was drained before he could use it.

“I am fortunate,” said Supervisor Hahn. “What I lost on this gift card I was easily able to repay in cash to my nephew.  But I am worried about the people who are barely scraping by who can’t afford to be ripped off.”

The scam, known as “gift card draining,” works two ways.  In the first instance, scammers attach a barcode from a card they already have to an unsold gift card in a store. When someone buys the tampered card and loads money onto it, they are loading money onto the scammer’s card.  In the second instance, a scammer would steal the details off a legitimate gift card and then place it back on a store rack. That scammer can then track when the card is bought and loaded and then quickly drain the money.