I love making new discoveries that play into earning a ton of points. It’s like hearing that it’s a snow day from school and now from work. They just never get old!
Then there are the discoveries that I find accidentally and do not want to find. These are the ones that are exploitable because of poor IT systems. They constitute fraud and could land someone in jail like the Chiu brothers with what they did with FatWallet and Nordstroms.
Without naming stores and too many techniques, I will talk about one store out of three that I’ve found recently because it bothers me the most.
This month, I’ve had a need to use a lot of gift cards online for purchases. In order to maximize savings, I’ve bought a few thousand worth of gift cards to lower my costs. All of the gift cards I have used are electronic and during check out, as with many sites, it tells you which cards you’ve used in the check out and tell me what’s left that I owe or not. I would complete the purchase and move onto the next purchase.
I made a few rapid orders one after another and in the process I was confused which gift card I used. I had 18 gift cards and some where using gift card number 12 and 13 I wasn’t sure if I used gift card number 12 or not. I reapplied gift card 12 and it worked thinking I had not used gift card number 12. However, when I went to use gift card number 18, I knew how much I’d need to spend, but at the end I wound up with a surplus of gift card credit.
What This Means
At the end of all the orders, I was supposed to owe $25, but after applying the last gift card, I didn’t owe anything. That means that I had used gift card number 12 twice. It bothers me because a nefarious character could potentially reuse a gift card over and over and over for “unlimited” money.
What this retailer needs to do is update their systems to charge the gift card as soon as the order is submitted, just like how they process a credit card order. Send everything into a pending status and charge the card, and if it the order falls through, just refund the value back to the cards. Instead, this retailer allows you to charge up everything on the gift card without any validations.
After Some Stewing
I actually had my order cancelled, but I am pretty sure if I spent more than 15 minutes of accidentally finding out about this discovery I could game the system, but that’s fraud and nothing is worth it when it comes to that. It’s caused me to rethink if the cards on the secondary market are sold from this “trick.”