7

In September 2011, I redeemed credit card points I had with Citibank for a $100 Walmart gift card.

I did not try using this card until March 2014, when I discovered there was no balance in it. I contacted Walmart and they said that someone else had used its full value (in September 2011) to buy some prepaid Visa and Mastercard gift cards.

Walmart says that because I was not the original purchaser of the gift card, they could not help me directly; I have to contact the original purchaser.

I tried contacting Citibank but so far all they say is that the time frame that has elapsed since September 2011 (and today--about 2.5 years) is too long and they won't investigate the matter.

Question 1: Who do I report such fraud to?

Question 2: How can I recover the $100 value of my Walmart gift card?

Question 3: Is Citibank in any way liable? (The gift card was fraudulently used shortly after---within the same month---I received it from Citibank.)

9

Citibank just sent me a $100 check. Here's how I got it:

  1. File a complaint on Better Business Bureau (I also tried a couple of other avenues, but this seems to have been what worked). Filling out the complaint form takes maybe 15-20 min depending on your story.
  2. Citibank then simply sent me a $100 check as a "customer courtesy". I didn't even need to do any more work, talk to anyone, write any more. Nada. I just got a $100 check in the mail. That simple!
5

Question 1: Who do I report such fraud to?

Walmart, or their card processor. They may be in their right to require the original purchaser to do the report. Generally, credit card and debit card fraud must be reported to the bank within 60 days of the statement for them to take responsibility. I don't see why gift cards would be different.

You can also report it to the police, but I believe you'll be asked to file a report in the jurisdiction where the card was used. Again - time is of the essence, and there's nothing much they could do with your report now.

Question 2: How can I recover the $100 value of my Walmart gift card?

At this point, 2.5 years later when the card was used to buy prepaid cards, there's no way to catch the thief and recover the funds. Had you reported it promptly, Wlamart could have block the prepaid cards sold or track their usage, but now is too late.

Question 3: Is Citibank in any way liable? (The gift card was fraudulently used shortly after---within the same month---I received it from Citibank.)

I doubt it unless you can show a pattern. It could be someone working for the Citibank, someone working for the USPS, or someone just stole a bunch of numbers and waited until they became activated.

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Have you checked to see if anything else went missing?

Walmart says that because I was not the original purchaser of the gift card, they could not help me directly

Just to build on what @littleadv already gave you, my personal experience on this is that none of the companies that you'll likely be dealing with in a situation like this will be falling over themselves to help you out. Unless it also helps them for some reason, or if they're compelled by consumer laws. If you think you should be protected from this sort of thing happening, feel free to reference the FCRA to see if you might get any consumer protections. But just from what you've said here, it doesn't sound like you do.

So if anything else went missing (or even if not), it might have been someone working for Citi, who may have had access to more of your personal information than just your card. ID theft is unfortunately common, as a fairly easy crime to commit, a hard one to protect yourself against, and a very hard one to prosecute. When did you last check your credit report?

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protected by Chris W. Rea May 24 '17 at 2:44

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