restaurant customer speaking (l) hand holding Visa gift card in hand in front of cards (c) restaurant customer speaking (r)

dennizn/Shutterstock @milaxhehe/TikTik (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I feel like this is a common operation for this restaurant’: Customer says server stole money from their Visa gift card—then told them it declined

'Never again will I pay with a Visa gift card where I have to give it to someone else.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on May 2, 2023   Updated on May 4, 2023, 8:26 am CDT

A user on TikTok has sparked discussion after accusing a local sushi restaurant of depleting her Visa gift card.

In a video with over 158,000 views, TikTok user Mila (@milaxhehe) says she had received a Visa gift card as a wedding present but had not used it. After verifying the balance through Visa’s official website, she went to a local sushi restaurant to try to spend the money on the card.

When she tried to pay with the card at the end of the meal, the worker claimed that the card would not run. Confused, Mila paid for the meal and went home.

A few weeks later, she decided to try to use the gift card again. Before doing this, she checked the gift card’s balance—only to discover it had been fully depleted.

“Coincidentally, the transactions that used up the entire gift card…happened on the exact same day we tried to use it at the sushi restaurant,” Mila says.

@milaxhehe This made me so sad because we loved the sushi but never wanna go back there because of this 😭 #storytime #grwm #paintmynailswithme ♬ original sound – Mila

Mila then called the sushi restaurant to ask about what happened. 

“I’m like, ‘Hi, we were there a few weeks ago and I think one of your employees stole our Visa gift card,’” Mila recalls. “I’m, like, getting ready to tell her the whole story and explain why I think it was an employee from there that used our gift card, but she immediately cuts me off and says, ‘Okay, how much was on it?’”

“I tell her how much, and she goes, ‘Okay, you want to come tonight to get the cash for it?’” Mila continues. The restaurant did not ask any additional questions about Mila’s claim.

A week later, Mila went to the restaurant again. Sure enough, there was an envelope with her name on it containing all of the missing cash.

“I feel like this is a common operation for this restaurant,” she concludes. “And never again will I pay with a Visa gift card where I have to give it to someone else.”

While some users in comments speculated that the card was declined at the restaurant because it didn’t have enough balance to cover both the tip and meal, Mila assures commenters that it had more than enough value for all of the above.

Gift card theft is incredibly common. In November of last year, a user on TikTok claimed they purchased an Apple gift card at Target, only to discover upon arriving home that it was unusable. In January of this year, a user on TikTok went viral after claiming they had the funds on their Airbnb gift card stolen. A similar incident occurred around the same time in which a Walgreens customer claimed to have been sold two frauded cards.

Back on Mila’s video, users shared their thoughts on the incident, with some noting some potential solutions to the issue.

“They didn’t even try to deny or verify anything cause they knew they got caught up,” offered one user.

“Contact visa, my little brother’s GC was frauded and they refunded it,” shared another.

“What I usually do with the visa ones is buy a gift card for where I’m actually going to use it,” detailed a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Mila via TikTok comment.

Update 8:25am CT May 4: In a TikTok direct message conversation with Daily Dot, Mila said she hasn’t heard anything from Visa about the incident.

“I reached out to them immediately. We spoke on the phone and I had to fill out some dispute form,” she detailed. “It’s been over a month and nothing has been resolved yet. They are super slow in responding and I had to provide a ton of documentation.”

As far as how to prevent this sort of issue in the future, Mila said she’s not sure.

“I honestly don’t know what the solution to this is,” she wrote. “Since theres no billing address linked to the gift cards and there’s not really any sort of verification process, if someone gets the card info you’re kinda SOL.”

To close, she offers a friendly reminder. “[Do] not steal other people’s Visa gift cards,” she laughed.

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*First Published: May 2, 2023, 8:11 am CDT