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  #1  
Old 07-22-2009, 08:50 PM
GermanyOrFlorida GermanyOrFlorida is offline
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Default Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

a $50 iTunes gift card for example. You all know how it goes. The card has no value until you take it to the register. The cashier then does something, and voila the card is now active.

Anyone know what the cashier actually does here to activate the card? If I knew this, there might be a way to replicate this process. One could steal a bunch of cards, activate them yourself, and re-sell them on ebay or whatever.
Any thoughts?

Last edited by GermanyOrFlorida; 07-22-2009 at 08:56 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2009, 09:29 PM
meta meta is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

I reckon they scan them with bar code scanners and it activates something in the card. You can find them here: http://www1.shopping.com/xPP-barcode...arket_scanners

I know that there is a number you can call on the back of the card to customer service, maybe you could talk to them and tell them that you bought the card and everything but its still not active.
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  #3  
Old 07-22-2009, 09:31 PM
The General The General is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

This one time I bought a year subscription to xbox live from 7-11 and it didn't work for some reason. They refused to take the card back untill I went in when my friend was working there and he took it back and gave me a refund.

Moral of story, buy gift cards from certified stores. Like the apple store in your local mall, gamestop, etc. And if there is no store for what your buying a gift card for just buy it online.
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2009, 01:46 AM
313 313 is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

idk how this works, but germany, if you figure this out please pm me ive been trying to work on this for like two months
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2009, 06:03 AM
logan291sal logan291sal is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanyOrFlorida View Post
a $50 iTunes gift card for example. You all know how it goes. The card has no value until you take it to the register. The cashier then does something, and voila the card is now active.

Anyone know what the cashier actually does here to activate the card? If I knew this, there might be a way to replicate this process. One could steal a bunch of cards, activate them yourself, and re-sell them on ebay or whatever.
Any thoughts?
I am a cashier at a grocery store and we sell gift cards of all differnt kinds at my store including ipod gift cards.

All I do is scan the card so the information must be sent from my register to the stores server that accepts it as being credited or the stores server sends it to another server to verify it.(just a guess)

I know that where I work at least, you have to type into your register that the card was paid for. So if you work at a store and think you can just swipe the card without paying for it you are wrong. At least at most grocery stores....

first post btw. bumppppppppppp
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2010, 07:26 AM
strumdrum725 strumdrum725 is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

This is the way I see it:
  • If the card has a specified amount on the packaging, a bar code, and no magnetic strip visible to swipe, the card should not have to be "activated" as nothing can be encoded on the mag strip. The bar code is simply for identification of product at the register so the register knows how much to charge you for the gift card.
  • If the card is a variable amount card, then some encoding of some sort must occur for it to be "activated" with the correct amount.
  • One could try purchasing a card, then reading the encoded numbers with a magnetic strip reader, then deplete the card back to zero and re-read the magnetic strip. Then you can compare the numbers and see what exactly signifies the amount that is on the card. If you can determine what makes the card "magically" have money on it, you could replicate the activation process with a magnetic strip encoder and reload the cards yourself with various amounts.
It may be crazy, but perhaps just crazy enough to work. Any thoughts/ideas?
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2010, 07:57 AM
Fractals Fractals is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by strumdrum725 View Post
It may be crazy
This.

Every card has a unique ID number. When they are 'activated,' the store's computers tells the company (Visa, Apple, M$) that a card was activated and sends the ID number. Whenever you try to use a card, the company checks your card's ID against it's database. If it is a variable ammount card, the ammount loaded on the card is also sent with the ID number when it's registered.

I see 2 ways to get free cards: change the ID and hope the new ID has money (very unlikely), or setup a packet sniffer to figure out exactly what the store's computers tells the company's computers (difficult unless you own a store).
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2010, 08:07 AM
DrunkFetus DrunkFetus is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

lol at strumdums's fail
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2010, 08:17 AM
Mr. Anonymous Mr. Anonymous is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkFetus View Post
lol at strumdums's fail
He put his try-hard hat on for that post. lol

The information encoded on the magnetic strip will not change after you purchase shit. It basically says, 'Use this network (Visa Check, MasterMoney, etc), and go to this bank, and take money from this account.' If you know anything about programming, then think of cards as pointers. They do not hold the information, they simply point to it.
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2010, 10:56 AM
Djaqaver Djaqaver is offline
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Default Re: Anyone wonder how gift cards are activated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Anonymous View Post
He put his try-hard hat on for that post. lol

The information encoded on the magnetic strip will not change after you purchase shit. It basically says, 'Use this network (Visa Check, MasterMoney, etc), and go to this bank, and take money from this account.' If you know anything about programming, then think of cards as pointers. They do not hold the information, they simply point to it.
Glad someone in this thread isn't a dumbass.
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