Victim of Gift Card Scheme Says He Was Penalized for Trying to Get His Money Back - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Victim of Gift Card Scheme Says He Was Penalized for Trying to Get His Money Back

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    Scam Victim Says He Was Penalized Trying to Get Money Back

    A North Texas man says he was a victim of a gift card scam and that he was penalized when he tried to get his money back. (Published Friday, Jan. 12, 2018)

    A North Texas man says he was a victim of a gift card scam and that he was penalized when he tried to get his money back.

    Tracey Sanders is a huge football fan. His love for the game is seen in the banners and jerseys all over his home.

    You can usually find him in front of the big screen, during football season, catching the game.

    "I stick with DirecTV because of the NFL package, the football game package," said Sanders.

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    Just before the holidays he got a phone call and recognized the 877 number on the caller ID as being DirecTV's number.

    "They said they knew I was ending my free movie preview, and they wanted to give me the free movie package for a full year and they were going to reduce my cable bill for half of the next 12 months," said Sanders.

    He knew his special deal was expiring soon. He was expecting to pay more, but now he was being promised an even cheaper price.

    "The only way to do it,  they were doing a promotion with Amazon with their gift cards. If I purchased an Amazon gift card I had to pay four months in advance," said Sanders.

    Sanders admits it sounded too good to be true, but says he was reassured since they knew about the expiring promotion on his account and he recognized the number as being DirecTV's. 

    He settled back into watching football, happy about his great deal, but that all ended when the mail came and his typical DirecTV bill was still due.

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    "I called DirecTV, was trasferred from person to person and then they're like 'yeah you've been scammed, sorry for your luck,'" said Sanders.

    Sanders called his credit card company who agreed to reverse the charge for the gift card but he says that didn't go over well with Amazon.

    "Amazon turned around and canceled my Prime account and said any orders you placed will be canceled and you'll get nothing," said Sanders.

    Those orders were last-minute Christmas gifts for the whole family. They panicked, but luckily Sanders said the gifts had all shipped before the cancellation took affect.

    We looked into Amazon's terms and they do allow the company to terminate a Prime membership at any time at the company's discretion.

    Sanders got his account reinstated after speaking to supervisors at Amazon, but says the online retailer is challenging the credit card company's decision to reverse the charge.

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    Amazon told NBC 5 they would not comment on this story but did pass along a link to common gift card scams on its website.

    If the credit card reversal stands, Amazon is the only party losing money in this situation.

    AT&T, the parent company of DirecTV said, "Customers should be skeptical about any promotion from any company where a third party gift card is required. If any customer feels a call or email is not legitimate, we encourage them to call the number on their bill and ask Customer Care if the offer is valid."

    It's unclear how the person knew account details for Sanders. A cyber security expert tells us it could have been a guess or maybe someone got into Tracey's email account.

    Just because someone knows your information, don't trust them. Hang up and look up the company's number and dial it in yourself.

    You can also put a password on your account and give the wrong one on purpose to see if the caller catches it, just to see if you're dealing with the actual company.

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    MORE: Amazon's Common Gift Card Scams


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