Highland Police Warn of Telephone Scams That Have Cost Residents “Thousands”

Police ask store employees to be on the lookout for elderly customers purchasing gift cards. “If an employee would just take a moment to have a little conversation with a customer about large purchases of a gift cards, those employees may save a customer from a large financial loss.” Highland Police Commander John Banasiak

August 8, 2018-Highland Police are warning residents once again after scammers target the elderly and vulnerable. According to a statement from Highland Police Commander John Banasiak, Highland Police have received several reports of residents being scammed after a phone call warning that a family member had been arrested or that a utility bill was overdue. The caller then asks the victim to go to a chain store and purchase a gift card. In a follow-up call, the scammer then has the victim read off the gift card numbers and the money is retrieved from the gift card. The financial “loss suffered was well into the thousands for each victim.”

Highland Police say that chain stores such as Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart and Best Buy are utilized by the scammers. Police are asking individuals who work at these stores to be on the lookout for possible victims. Managers should have discussions with employees regarding potential vulnerable purchasers of large value gift cards. “If an employee would just take a moment to have a little conversation with a customer about large purchases of a gift cards, those employees may save a customer from a large financial loss” Commander John Banasiak stated. Gazette readers are encouraged to have conversations with elderly or vulnerable family members. No reputable company would ever ask for a gift card number over the telephone. Virtually every police agency in the area has issued similar warnings in the past, so this behavior is not limited to Highland.

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