Scam alert: Protect your financial information

Police looking for victims in fraudulent gift card shopping spree

CREATED Mar 4, 2014

  • Print
  • Play

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Police are warning you to check your bank statements and credit card statements after two suspects went on a shopping spree at BJ's Wholesale in Cape Coral.

Police say they used fraudulent gift cards that were re-coded with stolen credit card numbers. 

So far, one victim has been identified.  

Police say they caught the suspects with 23 fraudulent gift cards.

Police believe more people - perhaps you - have been affected but may not know it yet.

"This is a problem that we see as a growing trend nationwide and, of course, Cape Coral is not going to be immune to it," said Sergeant Dana Coston with Cape Coral Police Department.

Here's how it works.

Thieves purchase stolen credit card numbers online and use a special machine to recode a blank gift card with the stolen credit card information.

Everytime they swipe the card, the victim gets charged.

"It's as easy as photoshopping something," said tech expert David Seitz, CFO at Greenwire Technology Solutions.  

"They're cloning somebody's credit card onto this gift card... and it looks completely legitimate." 

Fox 4 discovered several credit card coding machines for sale on Ebay. 

Police encourage retailers to train clerks to watch out for shoppers using blank gift cards, or multiple gift cards on one purchase.  

According to the police report in this case, suspects Denia Ramierz and Omar Barrios spent an extended period of time at the register trying to pay for cigarettes using multiple gift cards.   

If you notice any purchases on your credit card statement that you didn't make, you should immediately call police to report it.