Cybersecurity North America Trending Combats Gift Card Fraud as Merchants Deliver Zero-Balance Cards to Fraudsters

In 2023, 23 per cent of consumers in the US have given or received gift cards with no funds on them according to Capital One Shopping, the shopping portal. To combat stats like these growing,, the fraud prevention organisation, has received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – No. 20220036364. 

Since 2015, the number of gift card scams has grown from $20million, to $148million between January and September 2021. This number will only increase as the gift card market is predicted to grow to $643billion by 2028, and more and more fraudsters turn to see how they can exploit the service. The patent, titled, ‘Systems and Methods for Detection of Online Payment Mechanism Fraud’, looks to give merchants power against the rising number of criminals.

Rather than outright declining a transaction, the merchant approves it but delivers a zero-balance gift card. The merchant is able to do this due to’s system which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify with extremely high certainty which transactions are fraudulent.

“Fraudsters who try to sell a worthless gift card on the dark web will see their reputation tarnished in their world, and will have difficulty continuing to operate under the same user name,” said Alex Zeltcer, CEO of “These transactions will become a waste of their time and money. The fraudsters will ultimately leave those digital merchants alone and move on to others to conduct their business.”

A continued fight against fraud

This is the second patent has received in its global fight against fraud. In May 2020, the fraud fighters received a patent (10650382) titled ‘Systems and Methods for Detecting Fraudulent Use of a Serial Code for Accessing an Associated Value Stored on a Network’.

That patent prevents fraudsters from conducting brute-force balance checks to find account numbers with a balance. When the system identifies that this attack is underway, it displays false balance values so the fraudster is unable to know which cards actually have a balance and which are fakes. looks to secure digital commerce and payments across all online platforms. Contractually, it guarantees to help merchants improve approval transaction ratings. It ensures up to 95 per cent are approved.

The organisation’s ability to identify fraudulent transactions enables it to not only send zero-balance gift cards to criminals but also lead fraudsters using brute-force balance check attacks astray too.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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