Amex gift card FRAUD


i have 5 - $100 American Express gift cards, that where unused in my safe, (gifts)
I took one to use, and it had a $0 balance.

did some investigation both cards where used at 2 different places for close to the $100 value (each).

American express will do NOTHING to recover the money.
“the cards are treated as cash” was the reply.

If you have any Amex gift cards USE THEM IMMEDIATELY



Sorry, but I don’t think your Amex gift cards have any relevance to mine and I don’t think whatever happened to yours is a widespread fraud. Your post does not seem relevant to Glowforge.


why I posted it in “everything else”



I suspect that for this to be generalized you are not the only one. Some heavy googling and media contact might make a difference.

I would press harder on amex… complain loudly and also to amazon. Tell them you’ll spread the story far and wide. Basically… turn into a Karen for a bit. If it was a 10 dollar card I wouldn’t bother. But a couple hundred dollars is worth the drama.

I think that when you redeem those cards they go to a balance at amazon btw. I had a bunch of rewards on a credit card that I could redeem for 5 or 10 dollar amazon cards. I did so and it went directly to a balance I could use at any time at amazon. So using them immediately is probably a good idea.


I misspoke its not amazon, its American Express…

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found on the internet:

DO NOT BUY Amex Gift Cards. Amex takes NO responsibility for fraud. Numbers for my card were used to make 18 transactions for a total of over $1,000. (The card did not leave my home.) American Express takes NO RESPONSIBILITY for this and will not refund the $1,000+!!! Their policy is I have to deal with the merchants, but they cannot provide contact information, or any information beyond the day time and amount. Their lapse in security becomes YOUR PROBLEM. Give people cash, or a check… Otherwise, the money can be stolen remotely and you will have no recourse. Amex allowed fraudulent transactions to take place and does not take responsibility or provide enough information for you to try and attempt to get the money back from the merchant. How this is legal, I cannot understand.


I think that this would be news. Talk with the local news folk, make a YouTube-type video and email it about, or as last resort make sure you have a lot of only verified information and Post your own.

Is it possible that any were purchased with a credit card? They might be able to return the money to you and just stick it to Amex.
I did that with Paypal and a $2k fraud they knew about but were only going to pay $400. USAA got it all back and Paypal was not happy but had no say in that fight.


Unlike your personal Amex Card, the company has no way of knowing who owns a gift card. It is absolutely like giving cash to someone (including yourself). When the card is validated online, you can take steps to protect it. When my personal AmEx card is used, I get a text because I was unlucky enough to have my account information stolen and I now have safeguards to inform me if that happens again. American Express was absolutely helpful in restoring my money - even though the card was fraudulently used to purchase gift cards for other merchants (in my case 100’s of dollars to Starbucks). The regulations concerning gift cards are different than for credit cards, and I don’t think American Express gift cards are any different than VISA or MC gift cards.
\FDIC Consumer News: What You Should Know About Gift Cards


absolutely, But the gift cards where unused in my safe. so Amex itself was compromised. I also have all my credit cards safeguarded and get alerts immediately when they are used.

never in a million years would I think an unused gift card can be hacked.


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I, in my distant past, wore a black hat and know that algorithms generate those card numbers and if that algorithm has been compromised an unsavory individual can just generate a nice big list of what would be “valid” numbers. They then use them or more often than not sell them in a list of 5 or 10 cards for real cash they can use without risk. Sounds to me like amex has a compromised algorithm and since they arent’ responsible… they just don’t care to change it.


I am very sorry this happened to you. Thieves are terrible. However, there is no way for American Express or any card issuer to know what is going on with a gift card that isn’t registered and secured. A different kind of thief could buy AmEx cards, sell them and then claim they were used fraudulently and demand a refund. How would the card issuer know the truth? The laws to protect consumers are not great, and each state is slightly different, but we should all be aware of what our legal protections are. As I said, I believe Amex is operating within the laws and is no different than the other gift card issuers.

I appreciate the public service announcement, especially thins close to the holidays. It’s very hard to keep up with all the new scams out there. Every few months I get a call from my mother asking if something is real or what happened to such and such.

Several years ago someone stole her card info and used it to pay their 600 dollar electric bill. My mother had just paid her 50 dollar bill a couple days before. The electric company wouldn’t tell her who used her card info because she wasn’t on the account that was paid.

Big headache and police report. Got it taken care of through the bank, and I believe the police had tracked it down to an employee at the cable TV company stealing card info on file-so we had to change all her accounts to come directly from the bank account, which apparently is not visible to employees. I hope they’ve changed it by now, but back then employees there could see card info on file if you used auto-pay.


The only way to really know is to need that protection and even then it is often the rukus you make that makes the difference.

We need to pressure our state legislators regarding consumer protections. That is what it took to get the law that doesn’t allow gift card expiration or monthly service fees.

This unfortunately is not new news. It’s been happening for far too long.

Yes and no.
Many states took advantage and now treat gift card money the same as abandoned accounts/owed money and take it from the gift card supplier. Of course, like the company, if you ever do find that lost gift card, you can reclaim the money, but it’s actually much harder to reclaim it from the state. Both companies and the states consider it free money to themselves hoping you never find the cards again.

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As @dklgood pointed out, gift cards are very different from credit/debit cards and the physical cards themselves aren’t that important or necessary to redeem the card. Someone most likely just either knew how to correctly sequence them or were able to steal a valid sequence of numbers that just happen to correspond to yours, and it’s very unlikely it was personal to you; you just happen to be the poor guy who had a matching card for that sequence of numbers. And since this money isn’t secured and anyone is free to use gift cards #s without an ID, PIN #, or other verifications, the company can’t really be held responsible for making sure the rightful owner claimed them, and I’m going to guess the fine print on the card denies liability for theft/fraud. Not that it makes it hurt less and I’m really sorry you’re out the money, but Amex is right in that your gift cards are more like stolen, untraceable money than actual credit cards that have safeguards. (Not that credit cards aren’t used fraudulently all the time either, but gift cards are easier and less risky for the thieves.) And this is why I tell my family to use gift cards as soon as possible. :slightly_frowning_face:


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