Arizona Attorney General Mayes launches investigation into gift card cloning

Dec 10, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Dec 11, 2023, 2:10 pm

Kris Mayes, Arizona Attorney General...

The office of Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes launched an investigation into gift card cloning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes launched an investigation into an organized retail theft scheme, her office announced Friday.

In partnership with the Arizona Retailers Association and law enforcement, agents from the AG’s office seized thousands of cloned gift cards and other merchandise after serving search warrants. They also arrested eight individuals in connection to the alleged defrauding scheme.

Mayes said, “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.”

Fraudsters clone cards by copying the magnetic strip and returning the cards to store shelves. When an unsuspecting consumer buys the card, the fraudster uses the copied strip to drain the funds, rendering the card worthless.

Consumers can combat this by double-checking that the number on their card matches the corresponding number on the receipt. If they don’t match, that’s a sign that the card is compromised.

For extra caution — especially during the prime season of holiday shopping — the AG office suggests purchasing cards from behind the counter or close to the registers, since these areas are more closely monitored.

The office noted that the investigation is ongoing and could be updated further.

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Arizona Attorney General Mayes launches investigation into gift card cloning