Beware of Craigslist gift card scam: More than $600 stolen by clever criminal
A woman from Metro Vancouver has a word of advice for anyone trying to sell a gift card on Craigslist: beware of anyone asking for photos of key information from the card, which could help them to use the card without your knowledge.
"Now I know that these people are out there," said Sharon, who requested her last name be withheld.
It began months ago when Sharon's grown daughter had initially tried to sell a $632 gift card for Home Depot on Craigslist.
A person, posing as a buyer, was able to ask for just enough information like a partial photo of the card and its barcode — and then steal the entire amount.
When her daughter couldn't sell the gift card, she unknowingly gave it to Sharon without funds on it.
"When I went to Home Depot to use the card in October of last year, I found out that it was cleared," added Sharon, who said she was "blown away" that a fraudster could use the card without the actual gift card in hand.
RCMP wouldn't speak to specifics of the case, but Cpl. Elenore Sturko confirmed Surrey RCMP are investigating. However, she agrees websites like Craigslist can pose many issues for both buyers and sellers.
"We don't want to tell people that they shouldn't be selling things on Craigslist, but I would just say arm yourself with the information," said Sturko. "If something doesn't feel right, it's time for a second look, and of course, safeguarding the information as much as possible."
Sharon has questions for Home Depot, like how the thief was able to use a photo of part of the barcode without a PIN, to clear the gift card of its value.
The thief was able to use just enough information at a Surrey store self-checkout, and Sharon believes that's also a part of the problem.
"I think they need to tighten up how they allow people go through self-checks and particularly a gift card."
Sharon said because there appears to be a security loophole, she should get her money back from the home renovation chain.
When CTV News Vancouver reached out to Home Depot for comment, representatives provided the following statement:
"Our team has been working with the customer since March and we continue to offer support into any investigation with authorities on the matter."
CTV News has learned a suspect has been captured on store surveillance, but no arrests have been made.