Got Scammed with Tampered Coles Prepaid Mastercard

Bought one of those 'sealed' $100 Coles Prepaid Mastercard. Didn't look tampered at all but when I opened it up, the actual card was missing. I suspect they carefully tampered with the bottom of the packaging, slipped out the card and replaced it with a piece of cardboard to make it look like a card was there.

Bloody miffed. Purchased with a debit so can't report a dispute. Will cop the loss but FYI to those who bank on these card due to these flybuys promotions, please carefully check the packaging. But dunno man, the bloody packaging looked legit.

Related Stores

Coles Financial Services
Coles Financial Services


  • +1

    Where did you buy it from? You may be able to do a chargeback on debit card too, ask your bank.

    • +2

      Bought in Melb CBD.

      Been trying to think this scam through. These cards are not completely sealed without ripping the packaging. There's a open slot at the bottom that's glued together. No way they would have done this in-store. I'm guessing they shoplifted a few cards, used an x-acto knife or blade to cut through the glue, used tweezers to extract the card, stuck in a decoy, then non-chalantly went back to the store and replaced it. Since they have the card, they would then check the balance every so often and wait until card is activated at checkout.

      I didn't rip open the packaging until a few days later. I guess you could have opened the packaging right after activation just to be sure so you can immediately cancel in-store.

      • +1

        Firstly, its quite brilliant of you to figure all of that out despite such little information..
        Secondly, did you report this to Coles..
        I promise you, they will sort you out upon verification and probably manage to block those stolen cards too..

      • -1

        Bought in Melb CBD.

        What does that mean? A corner shop? A Coles branch itself? Someone stood at a traffic light?

        I thought most gift cards are dummies and need to be activated at register. Are these different? Pre-activated and registered cards offered for sale?

  • +1

    Interesting, other prepaid VISA debit cards I've paid for have required me to scan the barcode on the packaging as well as the actual card, which means you have to open the packaging.

    I would've thought all prepaid cards of any sort would be the same process.

    • +1

      Yes, those are the Visa1 cards where you have to physically open the flap to scan the barcode. Those are more tamper-proof as the actual card with the barcode has to be scanned and I'm guessing there's a system check in place to see if the card has been activated yet.

      These ones from Coles simply has the unique barcode on the packaging itself

      • Those Visas are notorious for their absence of pin and non-existent support, so be beware. Coles are a lote better in that regard.

  • I've been scammed once too. The scammer put some other gift card inside.

  • -6

    Let me guess the deal was too good to pass up?

  • I heard it always happens in VIC.

  • +2

    You’re definitely not the first person to encounter this problem, and sadly won’t be the last. If I were you, I would call the phone number in the comment I have linked and pursue the matter further, because you should be able to get your money back.

    Out of curiosity, what is the expiry date printed on the cardboard packaging?

    • Update. All sorted out. I didn't take a pic of the front of the packaging but from memory, I think it was 9/26 (Sep 2026 probably).

      Went back to Coles and they gave me a refund on the spot. They mentioned it's not common but has been reported before. They weren't able to block the card straight away but that's probably handled by a different department altogether. Anyways, I hope they report this to head office so they can redesign the process but I get the impression that they threw it in the drawer and typed it in as fraud/shrinkage/theft or whatever.

      • You are lucky. I went to 2 stores, including the one where I purchased and they would not do anything.

      • +1

        9/26 (Sep 2026 probably).

        That’s interesting. The adhesive on the Sep 2026 cards is alright (not perfect, but alright) and requires a lot of careful effort to get into the pack without causing any damage. However, I have noticed that the adhesive on the Feb 2026 cards is stupidly weak, so it is very easy to pry the cardboard packaging apart without causing any noticeable external damage to the exterior of the pack.

        Went back to Coles and they gave me a refund on the spot.

        I’m glad you were able to get it sorted at the store, but that’s highly unusual, because the POS system at stores normally cannot handle refunds for “activated” gift cards. Normally, you’d be hand-balled off to Coles head office or Indue (which is the business that runs the Coles Gift Mastercards).

        I hope they report this to head office so they can redesign the process but I get the impression that they threw it in the drawer and typed it in as fraud/shrinkage/theft or whatever.

        My bet is that the latter is more likely to happen…

      • The store probably won't do anything. You should have called Coles Financial Services to report it and request them to block the card so the scammer can't get anything out of it.

        Give them the last 11digit of the barcode, that is the cardID and they will be able to block it. The longer it takes you to do it the higher chance the scammer has spent all the fund inside.

        This has been mentioned before and I even put in detail in the post quoted above, why don't you take action?!?

  • +1

    I would have been skeptical if I hadn't also seen it myself recently. Picked one up off the shelf but the scammers didn't seal the bottom properly so the replacement card fell out of the packaging.

    From now on I am going to open the packaging at the register which I know will not be possible for people who actually give these out as gifts.

    • which I know will not be possible for people who actually give these out as gifts

      Or those playing with big numbers not wanting to stick out like dog balls hehe.
      1 in 500 is my odds line ( conservative most likely much higher ) and no need to worry . Acceptable risk :)

  • +2

    I had the same thing happen with this card. I purchased five $100 cards in October 2019. None of them worked. I purchased them at a manned register and neither I nor the operator noticed any problems with them. After one did not work, I opened the cardboard packets and checked the balances of the rest. In fact, inside some of them had VISA cards, one was a $50 Mastercard and all had been spent. Before I opened them I checked the outside and they did not look like they had been tampered with. I googled a lot and found this is not uncommon and people take the cards from the inside and substitute something else and then when you purchase the card the one in their possession is activated. First, I went to 2 Coles stores and they were aware of other cases. I then rang Coles Financial Services and was told to email them photos of the cards, cardboard cases, and receipts. Fortunately, they credited me with the face value of the cards. Since then I have looked at many physical gift cards and the ones where the card is not sealed up inside are probably safer. Since then I take the card out and check that the numbers on the back of the card (card id) match those below the bar code on the cardboard sleeve before purchasing. Coles know that this is a system fault and that their cards are vulnerable.

    • What I don't understand is why the Scammer's don't want BlackJack odds ( $100 to $250 gift cards ) on their scam by targeting $250's ?

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