Woolworths supermarket shoppers urged to be wary of ‘illegal’ new barcode sticker scam – here’s what to do if you see one | 7NEWS

Woolworths supermarket customers have been urged to be wary of a sophisticated new barcode sticker scam.

Speaking to 7NEWS.com.au, Queensland man Adam has revealed how his girlfriend, Gabby, was swindled out of $200 after purchasing a Woolworths gift card that had been tampered with.

The scam sees criminals place a fraudulent barcode sticker over the original barcode which is located on the back of gift cards.

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The replacement barcode stickers correspond to a card already in the scammer’s possession – and when the compromised card has funds aded to it by an unsuspecting shopper, it goes directly to the scammer’s card that is linked to new barcode sticker.

It’s believed this is the first Woolworths supermarket scam of its kind in Queensland, prompting a new warning to consumers.

Adam said his girlfriend only noticed the suspicious barcode sticker while investigating why the gift card had no funds on it.

“She purchased a Wish Gift Card from Woolworths at Woolongabba, Brisbane, and put $200 on the card,” he explained.

“When she later tried to access the funds, the balance was showing as $0.00. Upon further investigation of the gift card, a printed barcode was discovered over the original barcode.

“After doing some research, it turns out this is a scam … seen in Canberra and many other countries.”

Adam said Woolworths staff initially told them to wait 48 hours to see if the $200 reappeared on the card.

However after speaking to the store’s manager, their case was escalated and is now being investigated by police.

“We spoke with the customer service manager and they refunded the money,” he told 7NEWS.com.au.

“What had happened was someone had planted that particular card in the store, as that particular green Wish card is not one that they keep in stock.

“They contacted the police and an investigation is underway. They are going to review the CCTV prior to the 18th February, which was when the card was purchased, to see if they can find out who put the card there.

“The customer service manager also told us that the police officers have not seen cases of this particular barcode scam in Queensland before.

“She also told us that they audited their gift cards and could not find any more tampered cards.”

Woolworths responds

A Woolworths spokesperson has encouraged shoppers to be on the look out for tampered gift cards.

“Our store teams have been trained to support customers who may have been impacted by gift card related scams,” the spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au.

“We encourage our customers to check the back of the barcode when purchasing any gift cards to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with and if there are any concerns, to raise it immediately with a team member.”

Consumer warning

Adam said he was concerned that other Woolworths shoppers may fall for the scam, and has urged consumers to check their gift cards for suspicious barcode stickers.

“What makes this even more concerning is that there is absolutely no mention of this particular scam on the Woolworths Scam Alert page,” he said.

“More customers are at risk of being scammed through their stores. It appears that there is absolutely no security in place for this type of scam and we the consumers are the ones that are left to ensure our gift card purchases have not been tampered with by scammers.

“Anyone is capable of committing this scam all the way through the supply chain, it could have been done by a staff member for all we know.

“What kind of training do staff have in regards to tampered gift cards? What are Woolworths doing to ensure they are not facilitating fraud?

“Why are gift cards allowed to sit out in the open where anyone could potentially commit this crime? These questions need to be answered.”

7NEWS.com.au understands that Woolworths has had a very small number of cases of gift card fraud reported to them in the past six months.

Consumers are urged to stay up to date on the latest scams circulating in Australia via the ACCC’s Scamwatch page.

If you believe you are the victim of a scam, report the incident here.

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