SCAM ALERT: Thieves apparently targeting Walmart gift cards

A Montreal woman has been refunded after more than $550 in Walmart gift cards she received to buy baby supplies were emptied by an unknown fraudster before she used them.

Samantha Vandzura told CJAD 800's Andrew Carter that she got gift cards from her boss, right around the time her son was born.

She took the cards to her local Walmart store and stocked up on baby supplies, and when she tried to cash them in, she found out they had already been drained of their value.

"I gave them to the cashier...one of them was nearly drained, and one of them was completely empty," she said.

After being told by a customer service rep that Walmart couldn't give refunds, she found out more about what happened to her gift card money.

"On the back of the card, it says the number of the store where they were used," Vandzura said. "So I looked them up quickly on Google, and I noticed that they were both in Ontario. One in Thornhill, the other in Brampton."

At the time they were used, however, Vandzura was on holiday in Florida.

The RCMP say they are aware of the scam, but can't say how widespread it is. But it is an elaborate operation, which would begin with the scammer finding the gift cards in open displays in stores.

They would then tamper with the strip on the back to access the security code, replace the original strip, and put the card back on the rack. Once a customer purchases the card, the scammer is actually alerted to the purchase, and would then use the gift card for his or her personal benefit.

Walmart eventually refunded Vandzura after she went to the media with her story, but says she won't be buying any more gift cards.