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In Your Corner: Gift card mystery

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Don and Tina MacIntosh's Christmas didn't go exactly as planned.

Tina said, “We invited a whole bunch of people, but because of weather nobody came.”

Mother Nature wasn't the only Grinch. Somebody broke in their car and stole all their Christmas presents.  

The MacIntoshs were burned three times.      

“The GameStop card was just kind of an extra jab,” Tina said.

The GameStop gift card was for their nephew, Scot.

The perfect gift for any teenage gamer, except when Scot tried using the card it didn't work!

There was a zero balance.

“He just looked surprised,” Don said. “Like, ‘You didn't put any money on this card’, is the way he looked at me.”

The MacIntoshs called the 800 number on the card.

A customer rep for the card's manufacturer, Blackhawk Network, told the couple her hands were tied since the card was purchased from a third party, in this case, Lowe's. 

Tina says the rep did however offer up a possible scenario for the cash drained gift card. 

“She told me it was a big problem, that people were stealing the numbers and peeling back the security tape to get the four digit number,” she said.

Once a thief has that and in some cases, the pin #, they can drain the balance on the gift card.  

A Blackhawk Network spokesperson tells the In Your Corner team while this scam is possible, it's not common and "the incidence of gift card fraud is very low to the volume [of cards] sold, as precautions have been put in to place to avoid this scenario."

Their theory is the MacIntosh's gift card was never even activated.

GameStop and Lowe's each launched its own investigation and came to the same conclusion.

Tina could have gotten a refund from Lowe's, but she threw away the receipt.

  • Always keep your receipt.
  • Examine both sides of the card for tampering.
  • Look closely at the back for an exposed pin. 

GameStop has since contacted the MacIntoshs to smooth things over.

Tina said, “She wanted to know my nephew's name and address and she was going to get him a card out for $50 at GameStop.”

We’re still not sure why the card was never activated. We may never know. 

Here’s the In Your Corner bottom line:

  • Buy gift cards direct from the store.
  • Avoid stolen or counterfeit cards on auction websites.