$10,000 Worth of Gift Cards Mis-Delivered… and Spent! What is your worst Creative Spending Story?

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Anyone who engages in creative spending will have some issues one day. I am very careful and the worst thing that ever has happened to me is forgetting to, say, load a YELP offer before I make a purchase (and thus miss out on bonus cash back). Never ever have I had an issue like one reader from years ago I wanted to share today.

3% cash back? Yes please!

Way back then, you could buy Amex Gift cards from TopCashBack and earn up to 3% cash back on the purchase. You could buy these gift card in denominations up to $3000 (as well as lower amounts like $1000 etc.). You could then use these cards to buy Visa gift cards and cash out via any number of creative ways. The net result, after all costs, was basically free points or points with a tidy profit. They were always shipped via tracked UPS.

One reader, we will call him Bob, had a large order on the way of about $10,000 worth of these Amex gift cards. But he never got them.

He reached out to Amex to see where they were. Amex said they were delivered. But where?

UPS also indicated they were delivered… but a mistake was made. They were delivered to his neighbor…

…and his neighbor spent them. All of them. At Walmart. Mostly on shoes!


Yeah, the neighbor went to jail. UPS admitted they made a delivery mistake but Amex refused to credit Bob back for the issue since they said the cards were delivered and spent.

Big Ugg.

Bob, after many many many back and forths with Amex, after months of work, got them to credit the purchase back….

…and then they put the charge back the next month.

Uber Ugg!

Bob went back and forth with Amex and at last was assigned a unique point of contact as the charge and credits came and went month after month for half a year. At last the credit seemed to stick for good. Then something strange happened.

Another $10,000 credited to Bob’s Amex account.

Ruh roh!

So time for Bob to call and reach out to his assigned Amex rep. I am sure you can empathize with his situation after so many months of fighting to get the account corrected. The case rep was very irritated (not at Bob but at the situation that they thought was at last done). The rep assured Bob it would be fixed – correctly – and he would not need to call on this ever again!

Time goes by. Weeks turn into Months. Nothing changes.

Now I am not sure if you have ever had a credit balance with a credit card for a long time but you know what happens if you do not use the account for a long time? Yep….

Amex sent Bob a check for $10,000! 🙂

What did Bob do? He had been told by Amex this was a closed matter and to not call again. So he put the money into a savings account and is ready to return the funds if Amex ever asks for them back. After so many years I doubt that will ever happen.

This is truly the wildest creative spending story I have ever heard about but I am sure there are others. Please comment below on this post if you have a story even more wild than this one from Bob! – René


  1. I can’t compete with that story! I’ll just say that I bought some Visa gift cards at Staples and one of them had $90 spent on it by a stranger before I got around to using it (a couple of months). It cost me way more than $90 of time, but now I have a new card with the $90 on it. Surprisingly the replacement is a MasterCard, not a Visa. We’ll see if it works. I’m spending it this week!

  2. Vanilla reload $500 from CVS spent off the card before I got it home. Incomm was absolutely useless, amex, could only resolve the purchase but the value was their when activated. Incomm and VR cards disappeared shortly thereafter from most retailers at least in GA.

    I remember the incomm scam being suggested to have been internal. Recording all the card codes and just running them all day until they were activated draining them very reliably as soon as any card was loaded. They make have literally had the worst verification/protection means ever. The codes were scratched off under the stickers. So whomever purchased could at best brute Force guess their cards code. But likely it would be liquidated by the time you did. This was very early for me (first few months) with my very first credit card. Learned quickly!

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