‘I’m afraid of getting gift cards:’ More empty cards popping up after Channel 2 investigation

ATLANTA — We have been hearing from Channel 2 Action News viewers in the hours since our investigation into empty gift cards first aired on Thursday.

Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray’s wife even called him to report that the gift card they had purchased for a family member, was empty.

Gray went live in the studio on The Mark Arum Show on WSB Radio on Friday to discuss the reaction we are receiving to the story.

“After we did this story, so many people reached out and said, oh, my gosh, that happened to me,” Gray told Arum.

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Sandra Carter called Gray because two different gift cards she received from two different people on her 70th birthday were already spent when she tried to use them this month.

“When I went in the store, that’s when I opened it and I put it in, and the girl said it is declined. Then I said, ‘Try it again.’ She said, ‘No, it says declined.’ But I just took it out of the package,” Carter said.

“When you watch this story, you said, ‘Wow, this is not just me?’” Gray asked Dianne Wherry.

“It was everybody,” she replied.

Wherry spent five months fighting to get her $800 back after the cards she got for her son and daughter-in-law for Christmas last year were drained.

“I kept calling and I kept getting the same answer: they’re investigating. Then it will be another few days and they’re investigating another few days. It just went on and on and on,” Wherry said.


In an exclusive Channel 2 Action News investigation on Thursday, we showed you how the cards are being drained before ever being taken out of the envelope or packaging.

Regardless of what name brand is on the gift card, the vast majority actually come from one place, an Atlanta-based company called InComm, even though you don’t see the name InComm anywhere on the packaging.

A class action lawsuit alleges criminals are either cracking InComm’s algorithms for creating card numbers or breaching its systems to steal the card numbers.

InComm refused Gray’s requests for an on-camera interview and in a statement, they also declined to say what they suspect the problem is.

“We’re constantly working alongside merchants and law enforcement to combat emerging threats. To prevent copycat behavior, we do not publicly disclose the tactics that fraudsters use,” they wrote in part.

“I’m really afraid of them now. I really am. I’m afraid of getting gift cards,” Carter said.

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To get your money back, you will have to file a claim with InComm. They will demand the original receipt and personal information like your date of birth and your driver’s license.

Gray refused to provide that personal information in his claim and the customer service representative agreed to take only the year of birth and a driver’s license with personal information blacked out.

You can also file complaints with the Attorney General Consumer Affairs division and the Better Business Bureau.

InComm has provided the following response:

Depending on the nature of the caller’s request for assistance, our

customer service team may request certain information or documentation to verify the caller’s

identity and facilitate follow-up communications. Our team does not request such information of

all callers, since some questions and concerns can be resolved without it. As Mr. Gray’s

experience demonstrates, we do our best to accommodate any concerns that consumers have about

sharing their information. We also note that some of our prepaid gift cards are anonymous,

meaning that we do not generally maintain personal information linked to the cards unless a

cardholder provides it as part of the customer service process. Thus, incidents of fraud on these

products do not implicate consumers’ personal information.”