We sell pre-paid Visa and American Express cards at our store. They have our store logo on them, but they can be spent anywhere just like any other reloadable debit/card card you can get at the bank, or gas station. And since we sell these, people also like to buy them with fake money. In other words, we have experienced a lot of money laundering with these cards. It’s become a huge issue, so we have had to come up with ways that will keep people from essentially taking us for hundreds of thousands of dollars if not much more.
You can only buy up to five at a time. This does not mean per transaction. You can only buy up to five per day. Which, still has people getting a lot of them, but not more than a certain amount per day. You also cannot purchase them with store gift cards. Which means, if Aunt Tilly and Uncle Waldo got you that gift card for Christmas and you just hate shopping at our store, you cannot transfer it onto this card to be spent anywhere. That also falls under the guidelines that gift cards cannot be redeemed for cash.
This rule of our store makes people so angry. And I’ve found that the only ones that get truly flustered about it are the ones who are trying to use fake gift cards. These are the people who buy gift cards on credit cards that never get paid off, or credit cards that are stolen, credit cards that are fake. These are the people who are somehow making their own store gift cards. How they do that, I really don’t know, but one day I’d like to find out.
Also, when purchasing these gift cards, if they are just the Visa ones, we must see ID with every debit or credit card. Because people like to use other reloadable debit or credit cards that have no name on them to purchase these cards, too. Cue the money laundering supreme. These people look suspicious the moment they step up to the cash register. Shifty, sometimes with a twitch or the slight smell of alcohol or other chemicals on them. They will get defensive about having to show their ID and come up with excuses like “It’s in the car.” Or “Well, my husband has it right now and he’s in another state.”
And all I want to say is “I hope you get pulled over you sack of lies.”
But, I don’t, I just smile and say “I’m sorry, it is policy that I see your ID with this purchase.”
Usually they will give up and walk away.
Then there are the people who try to buy the reloadable American Express cards. These ones you can put as much or as little as you want on them (up to a certain amount, I believe it’s $5,000), with one flat fee. The Visa ones only come in $25, $50, and $100. However, the Amex cards have a nice big catch to them. They must be linked to a specific person. As in, when you purchase them, you have to enter your name, social, and a few other personal details to buy them. It’s something to do with these can be linked to your own name and some other weird Amex rules. To be honest, I’m not sure why, I just do my job and tell them this, but people still seem to get overly upset about this before just walking away from the register.
Most people get angry that we have such strict policies about buying these pre-paid gift cards, but they wouldn’t be in place if people didn’t abuse the hell out of these cards. In most cases, what people will do, is in the past when we allowed you to change your store gift card into these prepaid cards, people would then, turn around and buy store gift cards with them, and then manage to get insane amounts of money onto these gift cards that now have ghost money on them, and use these high dollar amounts to buy electronics like iPads, Beats, TVs and the like. Because, really, who goes out and buys their relative a $800 store gift card?