Montgomery County woman loses $300 in gift card scam

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Gift card scams are a trend the Better Business Bureau says are popping up across the country. Recently, a New River Valley woman fell victim to it in Roanoke.

A deal gone sour cost Kourtney Bower $300.

"It really stinks. It's hard, you know," said Bower.

It seemed too good, nearly $700 in gift cards for a selling price of $300.

The Facebook post on "Roanoke and Salem Area Yardsale," a page Bower had used before, seemed like a safe bet to her.

"People sell gift cards on there all the time," said Bower. "I've seen people sell Lowe's gift cards all the time and no one has ever said there was a problem, no one has ever put out it was a scam, nothing like that. So, you know, I'd figure I'd give it a try."

Bower said she had a gut feeling something was wrong when she met for the exchange on Tuesday

She said the seller called what she claimed was the numbers on the back of the cards to confirm the totals; however, Bower now realizes the seller could have called anyone.

When she tried to use the gift cards "the card wouldn't swipe, we were having issues and then finally it did," explained Bower. "Then, bam 75 cents."

A spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau said this type of scam is more common than most people realize.

Last year, nationwide nearly 350 people fell victim to the scam. Three of those incidents happened in the Roanoke Valley and that's just what was reported to the BBB.

"If you end up buying a gift card from somebody, the bureau said there's typically a website and number on the card to call to check the balance. Or you could "meet them at the store, get your cart full of whatever you're going to buy and try to use their gift card," said Julie Wheeler, the president and CEO of the Western Virginia Better Business Bureau.

Looking back, Bower said she won't make the same mistake and hopes others taking this as a warning.