Woman says she was scammed after purchasing two gift cards

It's the middle of the holiday shopping season which means people are stocking up on gift cards to put in their loved one's stockings, but a Franklin woman is saying beware because thieves are counting on your cash.

Harlie Olden said she and her husband bought two gift cards at their local Walmart, one for $255 and the other for $220, to put towards presents.

FRANKLIN, OH (FOX19) - "They were going to be for my mom's Christmas and my son's Christmas and my step-son," Olden said.

Hours later, Olden said she tried to use the cards, but couldn't.

"They were both empty," Olden said. 

Olden's receipts show that one gift card was used at a store in New Jersey, and the other one was used at a location in Colorado.

However, Olden said that she hasn't left Ohio, and the gift cards haven't left her.

"I was very mad," Olden said. "That's $475 that I just got stolen from me pretty much."

Olden said they reported it to Walmart managers who told them they would investigate.

"They went and watched the cameras, seen that me and my husband went and bought it and watched to make sure we didn't use them," Olden said.

Right now, it's hard to say what happened. Olden suspects perhaps someone wrote down the gift card numbers, then put them back on display and monitored the balances online.

Local police have already reported that scammers are using fake gift card barcodes to steal.

"I'm not sure if maybe more cards is done like that but I hope not," Olden said.

For now, Olden is trying to track down her money and is working with Walmart to figure things out.

Until then, she is offering suggestions for shoppers who are purchasing gift cards at any business:

"Check the cards and make sure there's no stickers on them, make sure they don't look funny."

A Walmart spokesperson said they are looking into this and expect to have more information Wednesday.

Olden said she is reporting what happened to local police.

According to the FOX19 NOW Simply Money team, your best defense is to use gift cards as quickly as possible.

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