Scammers Found a New Way to Steal Money From Your Gift Cards This Holiday Season — Here's What to Look For A woman in Chicago fell victim to a "card draining" scam at her local Target.

By Emily Rella

entrepreneur daily

A new scam involving gift cards has been plaguing customers around the U.S. — just in time for the holiday rush.

A Colorado woman named Suzanne Gdovic fell victim to a scam called "card draining," where hackers drain funds from gift cards before they're even used.

Gdovic told Fox & Friends First that she purchased a $200 gift card at Target and gave it to a friend. But when her friend later presented the card at checkout, the balance was zero.

Related: QR Code Scams Are on the Rise, FTC Warns — Here's How to Avoid Falling for the Grift

"I gave [the card] to [my friend]. She went to Target to try to use it, and she was at the cash register checking out, and she was told there was a zero balance on the card and was also told that the gift card was assigned to another person's account," Gdovic explained to the outlet. "There was no money there for her to use for all of the things that she was buying for the new baby."

How the 'card draining' scam works

Criminals are removing the silver lining that covers the security code from the back of gift cards, taking the security code, registering the cards, and then putting it back with another silver strip.

Then, when the card is purchased and loaded, the scammers will steal the money, likely before the person it was intended for even has it in their hands.

Target warns against gift card theft and scams on its website, telling customers not to buy, sell, or check the balance on a gift card anywhere that is not Target's website.

"Do not purchase a gift card if it appears that the packaging has been altered or manipulated," the retailer says. "If you have questions about a gift card, ask a Target team member for assistance."

Gdovic said that she was able to get her money back from the retailer.

"You can dispute the charge on your credit card, and they're very helpful because they consider this fraud and theft, and they will dispute that charge until you're able to resolve it," she explained. "But Target, I stuck to it, and I was able to get that gift card replaced by Target gift card services."

Related: Woman Arrested for $60 Million USPS Counterfeit Postage Scam

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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