Perhaps a gift card this holiday season is not a good idea, consider buying actual gifts for this year’s holiday shopping season.
A new gift card scam is now making the rounds and affecting the big box retailers that sell gift cards and the unwitting customers who buy them.
Scammers in the Sacramento California area have been stealing gift cards from retailers like Target, then removing the concealer that hides the pin for the cards, copying those pins, attaching everything, and returning the cards to the store.
Such gift card scams can also occur through alterations to the magnetic stripe of a card, though this is much harder to achieve.
The Sacramento Sheriff’s office has already announced the arrests of several individuals connected to this scam, one of them being a Chinese national.
While this story took place in California, similar scams have occurred across the country. Stay safe and remember to stay vigilant this holiday season. One individual claimed:
“Do not buy Target gift cards This happened to me Gift card [was] purchased in PA and was a scam card. Target claimed they fixed this problem, but apparently, they haven’t. Holiday shoppers warned of disturbing gift card scam likely padding Chinese bank accounts.”
Do not buy Target gift cards This happened to me Gift card purchased in Pa and was a scam card. Target claimed they fixed this problem, but apparently they haven’t
Holiday shoppers warned of disturbing gift card scam likely padding Chinese bank accounts https://t.co/M7g8R7G5zF
— Joyce Fl Conservative Proud Ultra MAGA (@JoyceJuliC) December 10, 2023
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office conducted a successful anti-theft operation, arresting hundreds of suspects and disrupting an international gift card scam. A Chinese national was found with thousands of stolen Target gift cards, likely part of a… https://t.co/J55x6U5ANQ pic.twitter.com/AG0tuNKGec
— RiskMap (@riskmap_) December 7, 2023
According to The New York Post:
After the tampered gift cards were returned to shelves, unsuspecting shoppers would then purchase one of the cards and load funds onto it.
The money, however, would immediately transfer to a bank account, in this case likely a Chinese bank account, Gandhi said.
One officer explained how the scammers were able to defraud unwitting consumers and big box retail stores by stealing and altering the cards with almost surgical precision then returning the cards to the store.
New Gift Card Scam Alert!! pic.twitter.com/iBXkkOzS18
— CCBee (@SeaSeaBee) December 8, 2023
The Sacramento Sheriff’s office announced earlier this week:
“During our recent retail theft Operation Bad Elf, detectives observed an individual, later identified as Ningning Sun, acting suspiciously near the gift cards in the payment aisles in a Sacramento Target store.
Detectives observed him placing all the gift cards on a rack inside his jacket, then replacing the gift cards with another set of seemingly identical ones. After Sun was stopped trying to exit the store with the stolen gift cards, detectives discovered over 5000 gift cards from Target and Apple in his possession.
Their investigation revealed Sun was part of a scam that tampered with gift cards, scanned the bar code, and stole money from the gift card as money was loaded on them.
Victims are completely unaware it is happening, and the money is often siphoned to an off-shore account within seconds. Their investigation revealed that the operation spanned across California and several regions nationwide.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office urges residents to be cautious when purchasing physical gift cards from any retailer. Be observant of any signs of tampering, especially scuff marks or scratches near the bar code on the back of the card.
These operations are very sophisticated and modifications to the gift cards are often virtually undetectable, even to the trained eye. Detectives suspect Sun has done this at many stores and are requesting the public’s help to potentially link him to other crimes.
This investigation is still ongoing, and detectives are asking anyone with information about this incident to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (916) 874-5115 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP (4357).
Tips leading to additional charges are eligible for a CASH reward of up to $1000, and tipsters remain anonymous. Tips are paid in cash, and you are never asked for identification.
Contact Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP (4357), 1-800-AA-CRIME, or **TIPS. Use the “P3 TIPS” app or online at http://sacvalleycrimestoppers.com. Tip information may also be left anonymously at http://sacsheriff.com or by calling (916) 874-TIPS (8477).”
GIFT CARD SCAM AND ARREST
During our recent retail theft Operation Bad Elf, detectives observed an individual, later identified as Ningning Sun, acting suspiciously near the gift cards in the payment aisles in a Sacramento Target store. Detectives observed him placing all the… pic.twitter.com/1wzOT3jT3h
— Sacramento Sheriff (@sacsheriff) December 7, 2023
One officer for the Sacramento County Sheriff told Fox Business that upon apprehending one suspect:
“That guy blew up like a piñata at a kid’s birthday party, spilling out gift cards from his jacket.”
PLEASE Don’t Get Scammed By This…
I have published so many version of this article, and I guess I’m going to have to keep doing it.
Because I keep getting incredible feedback from people saying I just saved them big money.
Here’s an email I JUST received from John (last name withheld) thanking me for exposing this scam.
I’m so glad to hear it John, I’m glad we could help!
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, allow me to explain.
Yes, I am covering this for the 8th time.
Because I just had to ban someone in Telegram for being mad at ME over the TRB Checks.
They were convinced they were real.
Also, I keep getting emails like this:
That email is from Donna (last name redacted for privacy).
Yes, I realize the email is a little passive aggressive and condescending, but skip over that and I want to show you just how devious these scammers are.
They’ve convinced poor Donna that the “TRB Checks” are real and endorsed by Trump and if they only buy enough of them they’ll soon be made into millionaires!
And so scary that people are getting conned out of their hard earned money.
The scammers are SO good that they get people like Donna so convinced that they then send me passive aggressive little emails ending with “Did I misunderstand?” as if it’s some great mic-drop moment and they’ve just showed me how wrong I am.
Hopium is a powerful drug.
And as the famous saying goes, “It’s MUCH easier to con someone than to convince someone they’ve been conned.”
But yet I will keep trying because I hate to see people get scammed!
So let’s take a look at the video Donna sent me.
I’m going to post it here but I’m only doing it for educational purpose.
PLEASE DO NOT BUY WHAT THEY ARE SELLING IN THIS VIDEO — IT’S PURE FRAUD!
Ok, now watch:
They make it look like a news broadcast, but it’s not.
It’s a fake.
They make it look like Donald Trump has just promoted the TRB checks.
See! They’re Real! (people like Donna will say)
Look closer and you realize all they did was use stock footage of Trump.
There’s no actual video of Trump endorsing the TRB Checks or even mentioning them.
Heck, I doubt he even knows this scam exists!
They use video of him on screen and then the (fake) “News Anchor” claims in a Newscaster-sounding-voice that Trump rolled out the TRB checks today.
Pure fraud, but very convincing!
Go look at the YouTube channel in question and you’ll see it only has 23 Followers, it’s not a real news channel at all, every single video they upload is just scam videos about the TRB Checks and there is no other “news” on their channel.
It’s just a scam.
But it hooked Donna, even despite my multiple warnings.
Don’t let it hook you.
You’d be better off lighting your money on fire than buying one of these totally worthless TRB Checks.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you (six times).
Here’s more, from my prior warnings…
SCAM ALERT: The Truth Behind The “Trump” TRB Checks!
This is an update to a story I’ve brought you FOUR times already…
I can’t even believe I have to keep covering this, but I will never stop if it helps protect even ONE person from being ripped off.
So here’s the latest…
So scammer infiltrated our Group Chat on Telegram today and posted this SPAM/SCAM message:
Which immediately led to these people asking about it:
Kudos to Brenda and Ray who saw right through it.
Sadly, not everyone does and the scammers are likely making HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars off this scam.
One person emailed me CRYING, saying they were retirees on fixed incomes and they saved up and skipped all Christmas presents just to buy one of these TRB Checks and the stupid “Handbook” because they thought it would soon be worth millions.
I sadly had to explain to them it would not.
They were devestated.
And that’s why I will never stop posting this and warning people!
I do want to make one other thing clear…
We brought this to Clickbank’s attention and they are handling it extremely well!
They are not at fault here.
They jumped right on this and they’re all over tracking down and STOPPING the fraud.
In fact, I expect they will soon be working with law enforcement to track back all these fraudulent payments and hopefully prosecute the offenders.
Basically, here’s what happened…
The “product” is not bad on its own.
It’s a silly little Trump collector’s item.
That’s fine, if you want to buy one of those that would be cool and you can have a nice piece of collector’s memorabilia.
So allowing that to be sold on Clickbank is perfectly fine and Clickbank has done absolutely nothing wrong.
The problem and the scam arises when the scammer then takes that product and convinces thousands of people on Telegram that these will soon be worth millions and you’ll soon be the “next millionaire”.
That, folks, is where you his SCAM city.
Keep reading for more details and make sure YOU don’t get scammed…..
I can’t believe I have to keep posting this, but I will do it until I stop seeing these scams everywhere…
Because I’m tired of seeing people getting scammed out of their hard earned money.
I HATE SCAMMERS!
I never fault anyone for making money or selling products — good for you!
That’s called Capitalism.
But I freaking hate scammers!
Let’s start with the basics….
If you see a post like this, understand one thing: IT IS A SCAM!
I hate everything about this…
I hate how they’re using President Trump’s name and picture to scam people.
Folks….THIS IS NOT REAL.
No, you are not going to buy “Trump Bucks” or “Trump Checks” and one day convert them into thousands of dollars.
That is called a SCAM and it’s also called FRAUD.
There is no NESARA or GESARA coming where these fraudulent pieces of paper are one day going to be worth millions.
I’m mad because I’ve received so many emails from people challenging me about this, absolutely convinced it’s real.
It’s so sad, and I feel so bad for them.
They all say the cash out is “just around the corner….”
And look at that post above…
It’s always one more thing.
Now you have to buy a “TRB Notebook” in order to “cash out”.
Makes me so mad.
Buy 10 workbooks to cash out more!
Unfortunately, this infamous quote is more true now than ever before:
“It’s Easier to Fool People Than to Convince Them That They Have Been Fooled”
So go ahead and email me and tell me how wrong I am and how your “TRB Checks” are going to be worth millions in the future in just a few weeks….
Or is that months?
But I will kindly tell you that you’ve been conned.
At the bottom of the scammy sales page, they even admit this (I’m sure thinking it’s a legal disclaimer):
So to everyone getting ready to email me to argue, just read the bottom of their very page and they tell you it’s not real.
But now the most important part…
Do you want to know WHY they push these so hard?
And we’re not just talking a couple dollars either…
Below is what they are offering people who will sell their product.
You may not know what all of these phrases mean, so I’ll simplify it for you…
These people earn $290.18 on average with each sale they make!
Ahhhh, now do you see?
I’ll say it one more time: I have no problem with anyone selling something.
It’s kind of how our world works.
Everyone reading this has some sort of job and whatever company you work for (or self employed) does some service or sells some product to make money.
And if you make a lot of money, then good for you!
That means you provided a lot of value to the world that people liked!
EXCEPT….if you promise people their TRB Bucks will soon be worth millions, but only if you now buy 10 TRB Workbooks.
Makes me want to puke just typing it.
I hope this helps someone and saves someone from being conned.
Here’s a similar post I made last month warning everyone…
WARNING: These Are NOT Real, Don’t Get Conned!
This is a public service announcement from yours truly, me…Noah!
About 1-2 times a week, I get people emailing me asking if the “Trump Card” is real.
The latest version is the “Diamond Trump Check”.
Other variations include the Black Check, the Black Diamond Card, Black Diamond Check and TRB Checks.
They get promoted by crap like this:
In fact, I just got another email today asking me if these were real.
I am honored that I am a trusted source of information (I work very hard at that).
Here was the email with personal information blocked out:
I am so happy to answer that and thank you for trusting me enough to email me about it.
Also, P.S. — I love your P.S. — yes he is!
Now to answer your question:
To quote an (evil) past-President: READ MY LIPS…these are not real!
I don’t want people to fall for scams or pay money for something that has no value.
So this is my public service announcement to all of you!
No, these are NOT real.
No, these are NOT endorsed by Trump.
No, these do NOT have any connection to Trump.
I hope that helps!
This is a Guest Post from our friends over at WLTReport.