Target employee thwarts Social Security gift card scam

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — One gift card scam at a retail store this week was unsuccessful thanks to a vigilant employee.

News10NBC’s Jenny Ly reports the incident occurred in Henrietta and has an alert from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on how not to fall victim to these cruel schemes.

“A person received a phone call and they were led to believe that their social security number had been hacked,” said Trevor Hibbard, criminal investigator for the Monroe County Sheriff Office, Zone A.

In true scammer fashion, the Monroe County Sheriff’s office said the victim was told that in order to rectify the "so-called problem," they had to first go to Lowe’s and purchase $3,000 worth of gift cards.

“Unfortunately, they did do that,” Hibbard said.

The scammer told them, “Oh there’s something else that’s come up, you’re going to need to go to Target and get another $3,000 to make this go away.” A quick-thinking, unidentified Target employee drew a line in the sand.

“Thankfully the employee at Target was aware of this type of scam and said to the person ‘Hey what are you buying these for?’ and was able to say to them ‘You need to call the police this is a scam, don’t spend any more money,’” Hibbard said.

News10NBC’s Jenny Ly asked if any of the scammers are based locally.

“The suspects usually end being Canada, Jamaica, Russia, Nigeria – all these places that are abroad. Usually, for the gift card cases, it’s something the scammers want that can be transferred across international borders so that it is untraceable,” Hibbard said.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind residents that no legitimate business or government organization is going to ask you to purchase gift cards to solve a problem. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and call the police right away.