Kroger Home Depot Gift Card Scam
There is a new scam hitting quite a few people you should be aware of. It is happening in multiple states right now and appears to be happening more widely than other scams we have seen. This Kroger Home Depot gift card scam seems to be happening at Kroger stores themselves and some Kroger affiliates. I'll get into the details on what is happening and what we know so far below.
Gift Card Scammers Scratching Off The Pin
I have seen some crafty scams over the years. Sometimes the scammers place a different bar code into the package so you activate another card they have or they just track cards to see when they are activated. This one is a classic, the are scratching off the pin so you can't use it. It is kind of brilliant though, because unlike some gift cards Home Depot makes you enter the pin at check out to be able to use it. So even if you open the Home Depot gift card right away, catch the scam and go to use it, you are out of luck. You can't beat them by using it quickly before they realize it is activated which is usually a great way to beat these scams.
This seems to be targeted at Home Depot gift cards sold at Kroger and their affiliates for now. The cards are a popular choice when the 4x Kroger fuel points promos happen, especially when paired with a card that earns a grocery bonus, like Amex Gold. The scammers could be targeting the Home Depot brand specifically because of the pin requirements and how valuable the brand is on the secondary market.
Picture Of The Aftermath
My buddy sent me this picture of what it looks like on one of his cards. He said 4 of his cards were compromised over the last week or so, and he has heard from friends in other states that they ran into similar issues. His best guess is they are accessing the cards from the top of the package very carefully and then replacing the packaging, maybe regluing the top etc., so that they look normal on the gift card rack. I wouldn't be surprised if this is happening at the gift card supplier before they go out to stores since it isn't just in one metropolitan area.
What Happens If Your Card Is Compromised?
If you end up with a tampered with Home Depot gift card the first thing I would do is call the number on the back of the gift card and try to get to a customer service agent. Hopefully they can help you figure out what card you actually have and reissue you a new one. It may be worth going back to the store and see if they can reverse the charge if the balance hasn't been drained yet. Your last ditch effort option would be to file a chargeback with the credit card company. I don't know if that would go over well or not, but hopefully you have better luck than I did with Discover.
Kroger Home Depot Gift Card Scam: ToP Thoughts
If you are picking up some Home Depot gift cards at Kroger for a remodel, or other reasons, you should be aware of these risks. I am not sure if feeling / inspecting the package would even help much like it does with other scams. This one seems a bit harder to detect, and the fact that the pin is gone will make getting reimbursed difficult on you.
Maybe it is just Lowe's doing it so we switch our spending over to them? I kid, but it wouldn't surprise me in 2023 either, ha! If you have run into these issues let us know about it in the ToP Facebook Group.