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Gift card scammers steal billions: How the U.S. is cracking down on fraud

Gift cards are displayed at a Target store, in New York, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. (Richard Drew/AP)
Gift cards are displayed at a Target store, in New York, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. (Richard Drew/AP)

The Department of Homeland Security has launched a task force to crack down on gift card fraud.

The grift goes like this: Criminals steal gift cards from a store display, copy the numbers and slap on a new barcode. Then they place the cards back on a rack, ready for an unwitting customer to load their own money onto a tampered card that the criminal can steal.

Federal agents say the scheme is coordinated, tied to Chinese organized crime, and totals billions of dollars.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with ProPublica reporter Craig Silverman.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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