JACKSON, Ohio (WCMH) — What do you do when the gift card you purchased has been used before you get the chance to use it?

A Jackson, Ohio woman sent a message to Better Call 4, after it happened to her.

She said she bought a $200 Visa gift card off of Amazon. But when she attempted to use it to buy groceries, it was declined. Not once, but twice

So, she went online to check the balance, and saw that the card had been used to purchase a couple of handbags in New York. How could that be?

“Depending on where the source of the gift card was purchased may dictate the situation here,” said Steven Pope, Founder of My Amazon Guy.

Pope said it’s likely some “bad actors” were involved in the sale of the gift card, because it came from an online marketplace.

“You could be a dealer, a retailer, or you could be a scumbag on the internet trying to make a dime and selling fake gift cards, or somebody saw it and maybe opened up the mail before it got to her and scratched it off,” said Pope. “All those things are possible. And depending on where the source of the gift card came from, that’s going to be the first place I would start asking questions.”

To avoid the potential of a problem like this, Pope said it’s important to know and trust who or where you’re buying from.

“I would go to a local retail store where they’re selling the gift cards that, they’ve got the strip on them, they haven’t been scratched off, they’re in the retail packaging… because if something happened at that point, you could at least go back to the retail store,” Pope said.

Because when our viewer contacted Amazon, she said she was told there would be “no replacement or refunds.” But Pope said it isn’t the retailer’s responsibility, because the card came from an independent seller on the website.

“By and large here, Amazon definitely, probably did nothing wrong here, and they also don’t have to do anything,” said Pope.

So, what is Pope’s advice for anyone planning to buy a gift card?

“Always buy from the direct source when possible.”

Even though Amazon isn’t responsible, Pope said it’s important to make them aware of the issue. That way, they can work to stop these bad actors from doing it again. Click here to report fraud or scams to Amazon.