Your new gift card came with a zero balance? Police say this scam may have happened

Your new gift card came with a zero balance? Police say this scam may have happened

(As originally published with additional photos, Mon, December 4th 2023, 3:09 PM EST)

PLUMSTEAD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (TND) — Two men are under arrest for what police are calling a “gift card scam” happening at supermarkets.

Plumstead Township police officers north of Philadelphia were called to a Giant last Tuesday, “for the report of fraudulent activity that had just occurred.”

They were told two men “entered the store and placed outside gift cards onto the gift card rack.”

The store’s assistant manager explained she’d been alerted by the manager of another Giant that the two were just at the other store, doing the same thing.

She immediately checked the gift card rack and removed 75 gift cards worth $3,180 at a minimum.

Officers said in the scam, “legitimate gift cards and/or the packaging is manipulated, so that the suspects can record the necessary information to redeem the gift cards.

“Therefore, when a customer purchases a gift card, they are unaware that the pertinent information to redeem the card has already been exposed.

“Once purchased and loaded with a pre-determined amount of money, the funds will be depleted without the customer’s knowledge.”

Officers watched surveillance video from inside and said they got “clear pictures of the suspects entering the store.

Your new gift card came with a zero balance? Police say this scam may have happened
Jian He, left, and Min He, shown at a Giant supermarket on Nov. 28, were arrested on fugitive of justice warrants, Dec. 2, 2023. (Plumstead Twp. Police Dept.)

“Additional video surveillance discovered that the suspects were operating a silver Mitsubishi with California registration.

“John Doe warrants were obtained for the operator and passenger of the vehicle.”

Four days later, on Saturday evening, West Goshen police got a “license plate recognition” hit on the California registration and found both the vehicle and its occupants.

Min He, 35, and Jian He, 28, were arrested on fugitive of justice warrants. They’re each charged with possession and use of unlawful devices, criminal conspiracy to commit possession and use of unlawful devices, theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, access device fraud, and criminal conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

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