Donate to the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign

Consumer alert! Beware of fraud when selling unwanted gift cards this holiday season

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A suspected identity thief possibly strikes again, and this time, it prompts a warning for anyone buying gift cards over the holiday season.

Jeff Neuhalfen didn't want the $25 Sears gift card someone gave him. He says there isn't a store close to where he lives and figured someone else could use the card.

Since selling and swapping gift cards online has become more popular these days, he decided to put it on Ebay.

Neuhalfen said, "I placed it on Ebay and put a picture of the card front and back so that people could look up the card and make sure the balance was legit."

However, in Neuhalfen's attempt to assure potential buyers the gift card was good, he had no idea he was making himself the target of a potential scam.

Neuhalfen says he was about to ship the card to the auction winner when he double checked, and learned it had a zero balance.

He says he immediately contacted Sears to find out what happened.

"When I talked with the lady, with the lady at Sears, she informed me that two purchases had been made online the day prior in Arkansas."

Neuhalfen says the Sears rep explained one purchase was for $16.99 at sears.com, and the other was made for $8.01 at kmart.com.

He says Sears was also able to provide transaction numbers for both purchases and told him they were shipped were shipped to Forrest City, Arkansas to a woman named Yolanda Drone.

That's more than a thousand miles away from Neuhalfen 's home near Denver, Colorado.

So, Neuhalfen says he did an internet search of the person's name.

"Low and behold, that person popped up as a news story with your tv station. That she had been investigated for ID fraud!"

Drone denied stealing dozens of victims' identities to WREG back in 2012.

She said to our cameras at the time, "Why would I want to just up and do some crazy, unthinkful thing to somebody that I don`t even know?"

Police raided Drone's home and found boxes stashed with personal information.

According to court records, victims said she opened new accounts in their names and purchased products online.

She went on to tell WREG in 2012, "That`s wrong. Wrong is wrong. I mean, I wouldn`t do that to my kids. So why would I want to do that to somebody else? "

Neuhalfen said, "As I watched the story and watched her talk about how she could never do that to somebody else, it really angered me that she would do that to me."

The News Channel 3 Investigators tried to track down Drone in Forrest City, to once again get her side of the story.

Nobody answered the door at addresses listed on police and court records. Phone numbers associated with Drone were either no good, or voice mail wasn't set up.

According to court records, the 2012 cases weren't prosecuted.

Neuhalfen says he didn't file a police report since it was only a $25 gift card, but now knows not to include the full card number and PIN if selling one online.

It's a lesson he says anyone can learn from this time of the year.

"It's one of the reasons I called and why I want to get the word out, so this doesn't happen to somebody with a $200 or $300 or $500 card."

Experts say gift card fraud is rampant on sites that allow customer to customer sales and auctions. They recommend dealing with business sites that buy cards.

The News Channel 3 Investigators reached out to Forrest City Police to see if there have been any similar, recent reports about Drone and we didn't get a response by air time.

Nothing showed up in police records WREG reviewed.