How gift card scammers could ruin your holiday

Security experts say people lift the info off unused cards and wait until someone buys them.
1:21 | 12/31/17

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Transcript for How gift card scammers could ruin your holiday
scam that could put a real damper on your holiday season. If you gave or received a gift card, there is a chance you have been ripped off. Here's ABC's Adrienne Bankert. Reporter: If you purchased gift cards as presents this year there could be a grinch draining them. I was shocked. Reporter: Just two days after Josh Layton bought this Walmart gift card for his mom a thief was apparently using the card's number. This gift card had been used at three different times. Reporter: Layton checked the card's balance, which plainly shows those charges, what's left, just 47 cents. It never left my wallet. Reporter: Security experts say crooks lift the info off of unused cards that are out in the open. Then wait until somebody buys them. If the bad guys know those card numbers, they can keep checking them and seeing if anybody has activated them, and then they can loot them. Reporter: Layton says he reached out to Walmart, but didn't get his money back. Walmart tells us it has protocols in place to protect our customers from criminal behavior. The retail gift card association suggests that you try to buy cards behind the counter, but buy them online directly from the retailer and register them as soon as you get them. And we have Adrienne here with us live, so the key here is to treat your gift cards like cash? We have heard it time and time again, but experts are saying you want to use those sooner rather than later. It gives crooks less time to steal your balance.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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