Attorney General Kris Mayes announces arrests over gift card scams


Attorney General Kris Mayes is warning about gift card scams amid the holiday season.

Her office announced that eight individuals were arrested on Thursday regarding an elaborate gift card cloning scheme.

“The agents and investigators that make up the Organized Retail Theft Task Force in the Attorney General’s Office have demonstrated our commitment to protecting Arizonans from fraud by uncovering this complex gift card cloning scam,” Mayes said in a statement. “The successful seizure of thousands of cloned cards and the arrest of several individuals reflects my office’s unwavering dedication to stopping organized retail theft across Arizona.”

The news release explained that the thousands of “cloned gift cards” were seized, along with other items, and an investigation is now underway.

Mayes’ office explained that the scam can dupe consumers with cards that are placed back into stores after the magnetic strip is copied, and then the purchaser of the card unknowingly has a card that likely has no funds on it. They said the best way to avoid being scammed is to verify that the gift card number of a receipt matches the one on the card itself.

Another suggestion they had was to purchase gift cards from areas in a store closer to where transactions take place, such as by checkout.

“I am grateful for the support the Arizona Retailer’s Association and our law enforcement partners provided to the Attorney General’s Office in this operation,” Mayes said. “Together, we will pursue and stop criminals engaged in these activities wherever they occur in our state.”

Stopping organized retail crime has been a major goal of public prosecutors in Arizona. The Center Square interviewed Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell in October about the issue and their plans to crack down on it. 

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.