Amazon Gift Card Problem

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Feb 6, 2017
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#1
Good day,
I need help, I'm an amazon loyalist and been a customer for over five years now. My account has been closed due to what they call Invalid Gift Cards.
I purchased some of these gift cards with my personal debit card and also bought some from third party with a receipt of purchase.
Normally in my country we have a limit of $100 a month to spend internationally.
So what I do is I accumulate these gift cards so I can purchase items worth more than $100.
I'm into sales of ICT products. I have bought items worth over $8000 on amazon and in a weekly basis I spend close to $4000 depends on how fast I sell items bought from Amazon.
My account is now closed I'm guessing because I have about $12,100 in gift cards. I even explained severally by email when my accounts where restricted initially (early last year) and later it was reinstated.
My question is how come the gift cards I bought with my personal debit card is now invalid and others from a third part like Walgreens?
If the card was invalid and I tried to load it on my account it will definitely show a claim code error.
That means amazon sells invalid gift cards to its customer my conclusion.
I'll like amazon to look critically into my account and others because I'm not the only one who's account has been closed. I'm Nigerian yes but there are some good ones with genuine intent. I'm a business man and I'm trying to make a living. Please amazon kindly unblock my account. $12,100 isn't chicken change it's my hard earned money. I also have some evidence of purchase of e-gift cards and physical cards.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#2
Good day,
I need help, I'm an amazon loyalist and been a customer for over five years now. My account has been closed due to what they call Invalid Gift Cards.
I purchased some of these gift cards with my personal debit card and also bought some from third party with a receipt of purchase.
Normally in my country we have a limit of $100 a month to spend internationally.
So what I do is I accumulate these gift cards so I can purchase items worth more than $100.
I'm into sales of ICT products. I have bought items worth over $8000 on amazon and in a weekly basis I spend close to $4000 depends on how fast I sell items bought from Amazon.
My account is now closed I'm guessing because I have about $12,100 in gift cards. I even explained severally by email when my accounts where restricted initially (early last year) and later it was reinstated.
My question is how come the gift cards I bought with my personal debit card is now invalid and others from a third part like Walgreens?
If the card was invalid and I tried to load it on my account it will definitely show a claim code error.
That means amazon sells invalid gift cards to its customer my conclusion.
I'll like amazon to look critically into my account and others because I'm not the only one who's account has been closed. I'm Nigerian yes but there are some good ones with genuine intent. I'm a business man and I'm trying to make a living. Please amazon kindly unblock my account. $12,100 isn't chicken change it's my hard earned money. I also have some evidence of purchase of e-gift cards and physical cards.
Did you purchase any gift cards with bit coin?

The third party you purchased these gift cards from could have sold you bogus gift cards. By bogus I mean, gift cards that were stolen, or maybe even valid at time of purchase, but later re sold to someone who used them immediately, rending your gift cards void.

Of the $12,100 in your account, what balance (actual dollar amount) of gift cards did you purchase directly from Amazon?
Of the $12,100 in your account, what balance (actual dollar amount) of gift cards did you purchase from a third party vendor?

The debit card you used to purchase the gift cards, is that bank account still in good standing? is the bank account closed? Is the bank account negative?
 
Likes: jsn55
Feb 6, 2017
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#3
Actually, i don't know how bitcoin works so I never bought any with bitcoin.
Well if they were stolen gift cards how come they have receipts of purchase? And with the same gift cards accumulated I have bought items worth $650 and my account wasn't closed. It was when I tried to clean out my account they blocked it. Assuming I was buying in bits I'm sure this wouldn't have happened I guess.
There's was a time I bought gift cards and it was showing pending when I called customer care it was later cleared and added to my account but the following day deducted and an email was sent to me. That the cards were invalid. I showed the third party and I was refunded. Not to long after I got $400 which was pending for about two weeks but was later added to my account I guessing after investigation. It is amongst this $12,100.
Out of the $12,100 I purchased part from Amazon and most from third party.
The card I used is still valid as I speak with you. I even used it to withdraw cash from an ATM machine yesterday night,



Did you purchase any gift cards with bit coin?

The third party you purchased these gift cards from could have sold you bogus gift cards. By bogus I mean, gift cards that were stolen, or maybe even valid at time of purchase, but later re sold to someone who used them immediately, rending your gift cards void.

Of the $12,100 in your account, what balance (actual dollar amount) of gift cards did you purchase directly from Amazon?
Of the $12,100 in your account, what balance (actual dollar amount) of gift cards did you purchase from a third party vendor?

The debit card you used to purchase the gift cards, is that bank account still in good standing? is the bank account closed? Is the bank account negative?
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#4
Actually, i don't know how bitcoin works so I never bought any with bitcoin.
Well if they were stolen gift cards how come they have receipts of purchase? And with the same gift cards accumulated I have bought items worth $650 and my account wasn't closed. It was when I tried to clean out my account they blocked it. Assuming I was buying in bits I'm sure this wouldn't have happened I guess.
There's was a time I bought gift cards and it was showing pending when I called customer care it was later cleared and added to my account but the following day deducted and an email was sent to me. That the cards were invalid. I showed the third party and I was refunded. Not to long after I got $400 which was pending for about two weeks but was later added to my account I guessing after investigation. It is amongst this $12,100.
Out of the $12,100 I purchased part from Amazon and most from third party.
The card I used is still valid as I speak with you. I even used it to withdraw cash from an ATM machine yesterday night,
I can purchase a gift card today from a third party, get a receipt, and the vendor can turn around and sell it again, immediately to another person.

An example would be if I sold my visa gift card to you, handed you the card, wrote you a receipt, and then turned around and used the card numbers to make a purchase online, thus zeroing out the card before you get a chance to use it. then I disappear with your money and my goods.

I wonder if Amazon didn't already flag your account because you had tried to use invalid gift cards. If they were continuously having to watch your account for fraudulent activity, and you had a lot of movement into the account, it probably isn't worth it for them to leave the account open. They don't want to babysit anyone and, if your account has been marked as having fraudulent activity on it in the past, I believe it is their TOC that they can close it as they see fit.

Have you contacted Amazon and asked them what the issue is? If so, copy and paste their response into the forum so we can take a look and better advise you.
 
Likes: jsn55
Feb 6, 2017
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#5
IMG_2296.PNG
I can purchase a gift card today from a third party, get a receipt, and the vendor can turn around and sell it again, immediately to another person.

An example would be if I sold my visa gift card to you, handed you the card, wrote you a receipt, and then turned around and used the card numbers to make a purchase online, thus zeroing out the card before you get a chance to use it. then I disappear with your money and my goods.

I wonder if Amazon didn't already flag your account because you had tried to use invalid gift cards. If they were continuously having to watch your account for fraudulent activity, and you had a lot of movement into the account, it probably isn't worth it for them to leave the account open. They don't want to babysit anyone and, if your account has been marked as having fraudulent activity on it in the past, I believe it is their TOC that they can close it as they see fit.

Have you contacted Amazon and asked them what the issue is? If so, copy and paste their response into the forum so we can take a look and better advise you.
If it's so the card will most definitely show that the card has been redeemed in another account. I have contacted them, their customer care are as good as not having one in terms of things like this. All they ask for is my email and billing Address after confirmation they will say it will be forwarded to their account specialist. This was the email I go from them attached below
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Gift card fraud is a major issue for retailers and customers -- here is an article on how easy it is for it to be done -- especially when bought from a third party. A gift card number can be stolen after someone has legitimately purchased it.

https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-s...d-how-its-committed-and-why-its-so-lucrative/

Gift cards have caused quite a headache for retailers in the last month, exposing another way that fraudulent activity can eat into razor-thin profit margins. Gift card fraud can range from physical theft to cloning to exploiting programming errors on the merchant side.

The methods of attack are very similar to what is seen with credit card fraud, but gift card fraud is less widely reported in the news. The reason is that, unlike data breaches that involve credit cards, personally identifiable information (PII) is rarely disclosed. Regardless, it is important for both merchants and customers to know how gift card fraud occurs, so they can recognize the behavior and protect themselves.

On June 1st, Australian retailer Woolworth’s experienced a data breach that led to AUS $1.3 million worth of gift card numbers being leaked online. Several weeks prior, Starbucks had two high-profile gift card incidents – one involved a security researcher that discovered a race condition that allowed him to transfer card balances between cards without deducting any value, and the other involved the auto-load feature on cards that allowed fraudsters to quickly drain attached bank accounts. According to reporting by Brian Krebs, Starbucks itself was not hacked – the customers were.

The article goes on to explain that customers often use the same username/password combination across multiple sites and when a website is hacked, cyber criminals will often take the password dumps and try them on multiple sites. This is what most likely happened to the Starbucks customers; it’s very inconvenient and costly to the victim but avoidable, if good password habits are used.

There are many ways to commit fraud using gift cards and they are very alluring, for many reasons. First, and foremost, there’s a low chance of being prosecuted. The dollar amounts on each individual transaction are relatively small and not enough to garner the attention of large law enforcement agencies that have the ability to catch the perpetrators. Second, it’s very easy to commit fraud. Lastly, it’s easy to convert gift card value into money or merchandise.

How is gift card fraud commonly committed? There are three primary categories of fraud:

Hacking accounts
As described earlier with the Starbucks story, thieves can hack into gift card accounts and quickly drain them of money. If the auto-load feature is turned on, within seconds, a cybercriminal can quickly rack up charges and start the process of moving money off the compromised gift card account.

Another common route is using gift cards to quickly monetize the value in other hacked accounts, such as credit card rewards programs or hotel points.

This is how it works:

  • A cybercriminal will obtain the username and password to a person’s credit card rewards program, usually through reused credentials or malware.
  • They will log in and check the value of the account. For example, let’s say it’s $5,000.
  • Credit card redemption programs offer many different items they can redeem in exchange for points. Several problems exist for the fraudster. They can’t exactly redeem for golf clubs – where would they ship them? Cash back is either redeemed as statement credit or sent as a check to the cardholder – also no good. Gift cards, however, are a perfect way to quickly monetize the hack.
  • The redeemer instantly gets an e-gift card number that can be spent immediately, meaning the fraudster can exchange $5,000 worth of points for $5,000 worth of value on an e-gift card. The site will give the fraudster a gift card number on the spot, which can be printed out and used in-store or online.
  • The fraudster will then use a service that converts gift cards into cash, such as cardcash.com or cardhub.com. One can usually get 60% of the face value of typical gift cards on sites like this. There are also physical kiosks in malls that offer the same service.
  • The fraudster can now effectively convert a point or rewards on a hacked account into real cash.
Stealing numbers and cloning cards
Another very common method of gift card fraud is committed is through stealing numbers off physical gift cards. Gift cards work essentially the same as credit cards with a mag stripe—the gift card number is printed on the card for manual key entry and is also encoded on a mag stripe on the back of the card.

The mag stripe number is plain text and can be read with a mag stripe reader purchased for $15 from eBay or an electronics store. Gift cards may or may not have an additional level of security, a PIN number covered with a coating, similar to a lottery ticket, that needs to be scratched off.


Some merchants, such as Starbucks, do not require the customer to enter in a PIN number when using the card. The customer simply swipes the card and they’re good to go. Other merchants do use PIN numbers, which offers an additional layer of protection – the redeemer needs to have the physical card in possession in order to use it.

Gift cards are not usable until they are activated at the cash register. In many stores, gift cards are sitting out in an accessible place. People have been known to steal a stack of cards, bring them home, write down the numbers (or script it out using a mag stripe reader) and then sneak them back into the store and place them on the shelf.

Brazen criminals can write down or take pictures of the numbers down right in the store. From there, it’s a waiting game. Most merchants offer a way to check gift card balances online – the fraudsters will repeatedly check balances on the merchant’s website and wait until they are activated by a legitimate purchase. When they are, transferring balances to another card or converting into cash by using a third-party redeemer drains the balances out.

There are no reported incidents of POS skimmers used to grab gift card numbers, but this attack would work as well.

The addition of a PIN number can delay a fraudster, but not deter them entirely. They can scratch off the coating, revealing the PIN and replace it with a new sticker easily purchased from eBay.

This type of fraud is fairly low-level and does not result in a huge loss to the merchant, but is quite a shock to the customer when the recipient of a gift card tries to redeem it and finds that the balance is zero. Some retailers will reimburse the customer with the face value of the gift card, but this ends up being a reputational hit for the retailer, as well as a headache for the consumer.

Acquiring numbers in bulk
Slightly more difficult, but much more rewarding, is to acquire gift card numbers in bulk from the issuers, merchant, reward redemption program, etc. This can be done through a multitude of methods, including phishing, SQL injection, social engineering and accidental disclosure.

Accidental disclosure is exactly what happened at Woolworth’s, where an employee at the company had a spreadsheet with 8,000 gift card numbers, totaling AUS $1.3 million. The employee accidentally sent the email to more than 1,000 people. Anyone who received the email could immediately go shopping or start to convert the gift card numbers into cash.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
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#7
Adeyemoh,

Was the third party seller you purchased the card from an authorized seller by Amazon? Per their terms, Amazon doesn't permit re-sale of their gift cards. Chances are the gift cards you attached to your account were either fraudulent or stolen and this is why they are locking your account.

I would recommend writing Amazon to plead your case using our company contacts.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#8
Im really sorry to hear that utilizing an invalid gift card got your account closed. I would suggest that, if you can prove direct purchase from amazon for some of the cards in your account, you email amazon and ask if you can be refunded the money that you can prove was directly purchased.

good luck
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#9
This is becoming more and more frequent with Amazon and buying gift cards through third parties.

You need to go back to the third party you bought the cards from and tell them that the cards were invalid.

Elliott DOT org has been unsuccessful in getting these gift card issues fixed. The thing most have in common is they were purchased from third party sites and discounted. It is very possible that whoever was the prior owner of the card kept the PIN number and redeemed it as soon as it was sold to you.
 
Feb 6, 2017
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#10
This is becoming more and more frequent with Amazon and buying gift cards through third parties.

You need to go back to the third party you bought the cards from and tell them that the cards were invalid.

Elliott DOT org has been unsuccessful in getting these gift card issues fixed. The thing most have in common is they were purchased from third party sites and discounted. It is very possible that whoever was the prior owner of the card kept the PIN number and redeemed it as soon as it was sold to you.
I wish amazon can just send me a list of the invalid digital codes it would make things easier for me because I can now trace the sellers one after the other of the invalid cards,
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#11
I wish amazon can just send me a list of the invalid digital codes it would make things easier for me because I can now trace the sellers one after the other of the invalid cards,
This is what SAS80 asked you initially, but you didn't really answer her question. If your cards were purchased on Amazon then this would be simple to track. Amazon sells things directly and hosts a marketplace for 3rd party sellers who pay a large premium. You use a form of arbitrage that probably doesn't break any rules vis a vis Amazon, though there may be some taxes owed somewhere. However, Amazon does not consider you a loyalist.

Did Amazon offer you the money if you went away nicely?
 
Likes: jsn55

Michelle Friedman

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
have you asked them that?
Unfortunately, what we have consistently seen in these situations is that once Amazon sends the email that says that they are closing the account, future emails appear to be answered by a form letter reiterating the same information. I don't get the impression that Amazon has anyone assigned to read or answer further inquiries.

If this situation occurred with me and I was sure that I had the law on my side and that I was not involved in any shenanigans, I would hire a lawyer.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#14
Unfortunately, what we have consistently seen in these situations is that once Amazon sends the email that says that they are closing the account, future emails appear to be answered by a form letter reiterating the same information. I don't get the impression that Amazon has anyone assigned to read or answer further inquiries.

If this situation occurred with me and I was sure that I had the law on my side and that I was not involved in any shenanigans, I would hire a lawyer.
The very least the LW should do, the first step in the process, is to contact amazon and try to get the situation resolved.
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,024
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www.promalvacations.com
#15
Sas we have repeatedly seen Amazon not respond when there is possible cause and in every single one of these cases that come here, there has been finagling going on- one was buying gift cards with gift cards, excessive returns, using someone else's account, bit coin and now this one with over $12,000 in cards which is highly suspicious.

Adeyemoh, in not one of the cases we have seen here was the consumer who wrote not doing something odd with their account. With $12,000 in gift cards it is very possible they are looking at this as fraud or possible money laundering.

I second Michelle's advice to retain an Attorney. That is the only hope you have of possibly solving the mystery.
 
Feb 6, 2017
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#16
This is what SAS80 asked you initially, but you didn't really answer her question. If your cards were purchased on Amazon then this would be simple to track. Amazon sells things directly and hosts a marketplace for 3rd party sellers who pay a large premium. You use a form of arbitrage that probably doesn't break any rules vis a vis Amazon, though there may be some taxes owed somewhere. However, Amazon does not consider you a loyalist.

Did Amazon offer you the money if you went away nicely?

Amazon isn't saying anything all I get is same response anytime I email them. That my account has been closed. I ponder how they'll not have someone talk to me or even reply to personal questions asked..... It's as if all my effort is futile,
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#17
Amazon isn't saying anything all I get is same response anytime I email them. That my account has been closed. I ponder how they'll not have someone talk to me or even reply to personal questions asked..... It's as if all my effort is futile,
Charge back on your gift cards or get a lawyer and sue. Please let us know how it all works out.
 
Likes: jsn55

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#18
Amazon isn't saying anything all I get is same response anytime I email them. That my account has been closed. I ponder how they'll not have someone talk to me or even reply to personal questions asked..... It's as if all my effort is futile,
The only way forward for you is to hire an attorney. Amazon is tight lipped about such cases. Them going radio silent isnt suprising.
 
Feb 6, 2017
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#19
Sas we have repeatedly seen Amazon not respond when there is possible cause and in every single one of these cases that come here, there has been finagling going on- one was buying gift cards with gift cards, excessive returns, using someone else's account, bit coin and now this one with over $12,000 in cards which is highly suspicious.

Adeyemoh, in not one of the cases we have seen here was the consumer who wrote not doing something odd with their account. With $12,000 in gift cards it is very possible they are looking at this as fraud or possible money laundering.

I second Michelle's advice to retain an Attorney. That is the only hope you have of possibly solving the mystery.

If spending $12000 is suspicious than amazon should put a limit to customers spending. I spend a lot of money on amazon I'm into sales of ITC products and I have a registered company. I started doing business since 2008 and this is 2017. I think I registered on amazon over five years ago and I've been trading with them since then. As a growing business man can't I have saved up? Normally I spend $4000/6000 weekly on amazon because I sell to my customers in wholesale and not retailers or end users. I actually accumulated these cards and not purchase anything since January because I was away on a vacation in another country and my shippers are having technical issue which I was told will be resolved late February. If it wasn't for these I don't think I'll have this much on my account. This is no form of money laundry or fraud.