Gift cards are one of the most convenient ways to shop for a picky friend or relative. The cards act as ready money at a person’s favorite store and require little thought from the giver. But can they be trusted? One TikTok is telling her viewers to beware of Target‘s popular gift cards. Or they may find themselves, like her, with an empty pocket and a sad birthday boy.
Ashley Grijalvaa, who goes by the TikTok handle Clean Beauty Mom (@ashleygrijalvaa) was excited to take her son to Target to redeem his birthday gift cards for Lego sets. Instead, she found herself the victim of a gift card scam.
In a video posted yesterday, she explains to her viewers how the gift card amounts were harvested by online scammers. Her cautionary tale has already picked up 37,800 views and counting.
“It’s so sad to know there are shady people out there! I never knew this was happening with Target Gift Cards,” she writes in the video’s caption.
@ashleygrijalvaa It’s so sad to know there are shady people out there! I never knew this was happening with Target Gift Cards. #target #targetgiftcard #targetgiftcardscam #targetgiftcardscams #fyp #trending ♬ original sound – Clean Beauty Mom
“Do not trust Target gift cards!” Ashley tells her viewers. She then explains how she took her 8-year-old son to the retail chain to pick out Legos in exchange for the cards he had been gifted for his recent birthday. But things went sour at the register.
Neither of the two cards had any money on them.
“These are from two different people,” she explained to the cashier. She then presented a receipt for one of the cards. They found that one of the cards had a transaction from “a completely different city that I don’t even live in,” Ashley explained.
“There’s something about Target and the company they use to activate their gift cards where there were hackers that confiscated numbers that were on there,” she stated.
Gift cards are often used by criminals to perpetrate a number of schemes and scams. Many cards are compromised before they are even purchased by thieves who replace the scratch-off serial number stickers and then wait until they are activated to drain the card before it is used by the giftee.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Target via email for a statement.
Many of Ashley’s viewers reported being the victim of similar schemes.
“That happened to my daughter a few months back. They said she had no balance on it. She had just gotten it. Wow!” wrote jhanon504 (@jhanon42).
Jolene (@jolene01) wrote “Same! wish we would have known about this before our wedding & showers. received so many like that:/”
Another wrote “This has happened to me a few times with a few different cards! home Depot card, Chili’s card! now I just put cash in a card! let them buy whatever!”
“This happened to 2 of my Target gift cards. One for $50 & one for $25 & neither of them had anything on them & I hadn’t used them yet they were new,” another commenter added.
Several commenters recommended using cash gifts instead or looking for alternate methods.
“We stopped buying all gift cards as we’ve seen this happen to family. Now we buy a gift on Amazon and ship it for free,” one wrote.
“Happened several times to me. I will no longer give gift cards.. cash is just as good,” another advised.
The Daily Dot has reached out via TikTok to Ahley for further comment.