West Babylon family says unused gift card was empty

Emily Reusch received a $25 Sephora gift card from her grandmother for Christmas. But when the 11-year-old tried using it a few days later, she was told the money had already been spent.
“I thought it’s impossible because I haven’t used that gift card yet. I just got it,” Emily said.
Turns out the family was a victim of a common gift card scam. According to the Better Business Bureau, criminals are removing information from gift cards without removing the cards from the store.
BBB of Metro New York President & CEO Claire Rosenzweig says, “They’ll come and sometimes they’ll just harvest some of them. They’ll copy down the bar codes they’ll copy the pin and they’ll put them back on the shelf.”
To avoid becoming a victim, only purchase gift cards from behind the counter so it's less likely they've been tampered with. Look out for a sticker that might be covering the bar code. Finally, ask the cashier to verify the amount on the card before buying it.