• June 20, 2024

A Big Time Gift Card Scam Has Been Linked To Chinese Nationals….

Retail gift card purchasers are advised to use caution when making their purchases.

“Operation Bad Elf” by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department has resulted in over 250 arrests for felonies and misdemeanors involving large retail businesses.

Ningning Sun, a Chinese national, was detained with hundreds of Target and Apple gift cards in his possession. He grabbed several of them from a Target in Sacramento.

The Operation Bad Elf investigators saw Sun take the gift cards from the shelf and place them in his coat. After that, he replaced the cards on the racks.

Fox Business reported:

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public of a disturbing and “very sophisticated” gift card scam that has national and international implications.

The sheriff’s office told Fox News Digital this week it carried out a massive anti-retail theft operation at big box stores across the county, netting 285 felony and misdemeanor arrests in seven days. Among those arrested was a Chinese national who was found to be in possession of thousands of Target and Apple gift cards.

“During our recent retail theft Operation Bad Elf, detectives observed an individual, later identified as Ningning Sun, acting suspiciously near the gift cards in the payment aisles in a Sacramento Target store,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release Wednesday.

The office said investigators witnessed Sun take all the gift cards off a rack in a Target store and put them inside his jacket. Authorities said the suspect then replaced the missing cards with “another set of seemingly identical ones.”

Sheriff’s Office investigators caught the suspect outside the store.

They discovered gift cards in his coat and thousands of gift cards in his car, which included Apple and Target cards.

The intricacy of the crime involved information being extracted from the cards. The glue that had been used to hide the bar codes was carefully removed. The PINs were allegedly removed from the cards, the bar codes were fixed to seem normal, and the cards were then returned to store shelves.

This would enable the scammers to take money from the gift cards as they added or loaded money onto them. The money is frequently wired to an offshore account while the victims are unaware of what is happening.

Sun was most likely a member of a broader crime gang that stole gift cards. The card tampering was done in such a way that it was difficult to notice when the cards were purchased. The Sheriff’s Department advised looking for signs such as scuff marks near the bar code.

The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department released the video below for “Operation Bad Elf.”

Watch it all here:



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Patriots Beacon