Beware the ‘Card Draining’ Grinch: Protect Your Gift Card Gold This Festive Season

The festive season should be full of cheer, not financial fear. Yet, scammers have crafted a cunning plan to siphon off the joy – and the funds – from your gift cards. This scam, known as “card draining,” has been reported across the U.S., with shoppers finding their gift card balances wiped clean.

“A gift card should be a joy to give and receive, not an opportunity for thieves to take.”

Suzanne Gdovic, a Colorado resident, shared her story of falling prey to this scam with Fox & Friends First. After purchasing a $200 gift card from Target and giving it to a friend, she was shocked to discover the card was empty at the time of use.

“Imagine the embarrassment at the register when a gift of kindness turns into a mystery of vanishing funds.”

Here’s the trick thieves are using: they peel off the security tape from gift cards, copy the security code, then cover it up again with a new silver strip. Unwitting customers buy and load these tampered cards, only for the scammers to drain the balance soon after.

“Like a shadow, these scammers lurk, waiting to drain away the festive spirit from your gift cards.”


  • How can I protect myself from a ‘card draining’ scam?
      Ans 1. Inspect gift cards before purchase for any signs of tampering and only buy from reputable sources.

    1. What should I do if I suspect my gift card has been compromised?
        Ans 2. Report it immediately to the retailer, and if necessary, dispute the charge with your credit card company.


      Target is proactive in warning customers: don’t purchase, sell, or check gift card balances outside their official website. The company advises, “If the packaging looks tampered with, or if anything seems amiss, seek help from a store team member.”

      “A moment of caution before a purchase can save a season’s worth of heartache.”

      Fortunately for Gdovic, persistence paid off. After contesting the charge as fraud, she was refunded by Target’s gift card services.

      “With vigilance and swift action, the holiday heist can be halted.”

      This holiday season, let’s keep the cheer in our hearts and the funds on our gift cards secure. After all, it’s the time for giving, not for losing.