Irvine woman warns of potential scam involving Visa Vanilla gift card

She believes the card's serial number printed on the back of the packaging could allow thieves to access the funds.

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Saturday, November 26, 2022
Irvine woman warns of potential scam involving Visa Vanilla gift card
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An Irvine woman thought she had $500 loaded onto a Visa Vanilla gift card given to her a year ago. It was empty.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- An Irvine woman is warning consumers after she claims funds in a gift card were stolen while she had the card in her possession.

Renee Venezia was saving a Vanilla prepaid Visa Gift Card worth $500 she got from her mom in September 2021 for a special trip last month.

"It was completely sealed, closed, brand new," Venezia said. "I brought it with me to Boston. And I took it out, the glue dots and everything, gave it to the hotel clerk and she scanned it several times and said, 'I'm sorry. It's declined. The balance is zero.'"

Little did Venezia know the funds had been depleted from the card almost a year ago.

Confused, embarrassed and angry Venezia reached out to InComm Financial Services- Vanilla Gift Card's parent company.

In a letter to Renee InComm said "...we have verified that your card was present during the time of the purchase(s)."

Venezia said, "It wasn't present because I have it. And basically I don't have a recourse. They have closed it and the $500 gift that I received has no value."

Also, InComm said, "Your dispute is no longer under review. With the denial of this dispute, we consider this matter closed."

On the Better Business Bureau's website InComm has a 1 star rating from customers.

Many of them have left reviews documenting experiences similar to Venezia's.

She believes the card's serial number printed on the back of the packaging could allow thieves to access the funds.

"So before I even received this I believe the funds in here were doomed. They were already set to be sent somewhere else. I feel like Vanilla knows that this is the breach. Why not put it inside the package?" Venezia said.

She doubts she'll get her money back but wants to warn others Vanilla gift cards could be tampered with.

"If you have any I would say to use it today. Do not wait because your funds are not secure," Venezia said.

She said now that the holidays are here if you plan to give away money as a gift just give cash instead.

InComm said they would look into Venezia claims and provide an update as soon as it's available.