Shopping
Cashier watches woman on phone for 2 hours raising suspicion when she reaches for gift cards
Amy didn't think much of the woman at first until she realized something much sinister was happening.
Sasha Alonzo
07.26.22

Have you ever witnessed something and suddenly felt in your gut like something is off or that something weird is going on?

For one cashier at a local Fred Meyer’s store all started out ordinary in her day until she noticed something unusual that caught her attention.

An unusual sight

A woman was walking around the store. But it had been a couple of hours already and she hadn’t bought anything yet.

Flickr - Northwest Retail
Source:
Flickr - Northwest Retail

On the phone

The entire time, the woman was just talking to someone on her phone. It wasn’t suspicious at that point but something much more sinister was going on.

Amy, the cashier, didn’t think much about the woman at first.

She got a $45 gift card and Amy thought that the person on the other line was a kid. Maybe he had specific instructions, or maybe it was hard to find a gift for him so she just chose a gift card. It wasn’t raising any bells, at least until she grabbed another set of gift cards worth $200.

YouTube Screenshot - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - East Idaho News

Being scammed right in front of her

That’s when Amy knew that a scam was being pulled off. She approached the lady and asked her what was going on.

Warning her

She advised the local woman not to buy the gift cards.

Amy explained that she might be a victim of a scam. The woman didn’t want to believe her at first. She even insisted that she’d been talking to the person for a couple of hours already.

Unsplash - Maulik Sutariya
Source:
Unsplash - Maulik Sutariya

Taking action

That’s when Amy asked for her phone so she could talk to the person instead. She started asking the person some questions but they couldn’t give her a straight answer. In the end, the scammer was shut down and kept quiet – so the cashier hung up the phone.

Amy could’ve just made the sale but she chose to do the right thing.

She stopped a scam from happening and saved a woman and her savings from becoming just another statistic.

Flickr - Fotos_PDX
Source:
Flickr - Fotos_PDX

The woman is lucky Amy saw her

The scammer told the lady that she had pulled out more cash than what was in her account and that she should pay immediately. It was a made-up story but it was enough to scare the local woman into the scam.

If Amy hadn’t put the signs together, it could’ve ended badly.

In the past decade alone, we saw how technology changed the way we give gifts. Back then, we’re so used to buying items and wrapping them. This is often cumbersome, most especially when you have to lug the gift around, not to mention the line you had to endure.

Unsplash - freestocks
Source:
Unsplash - freestocks

Good idea to stay informed

But thanks to gift cards and online shopping, our shopping woes became turning points for convenience. Unfortunately, this is also a system that a lot of crooks exploit.

You might’ve heard of the gift card scam but others haven’t.

The modus operandi involves a fake phone call to a vulnerable person. They will often claim that the payment should be urgent or bad things will happen.

YouTube Screenshot - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - East Idaho News

Warnings from experts

They may impersonate bank employees, government agencies, or organizations that give out “prizes”. Common cards they ask Amazon, Ebay, Google, and iTunes.

Experts advise that no organization will accept gift cards as payment.

According to AARP, 1 in 10 Americans has fallen victim to the scam. The Federal Trade Commission also reported that gift cards have topped the list of reported fraud payment methods yearly since 2018.

Flickr - Mike Mozart
Source:
Flickr - Mike Mozart

Report them immediately

The FTC also said that if someone asks you to pay them with gift cards, report them immediately even if you didn’t pay.

Hopefully, as more people become more aware of the scam, we can stop it from happening.

As for Amy, she said that it felt great that she could help someone. She also said to other cashiers to be on the lookout for older people who are buying large amounts of gift cards. Chances are, they need help, and store staff can readily give it.

YouTube Screenshot - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - East Idaho News

Amy’s good deed didn’t go unnoticed. East Idaho News actually went to the store to speak with her about what happened, and bring her a little ‘thank you’ gift too.

Click the video below to watch Amy recount the events of that day.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: YouTube – East Idaho News, CNBC, Federal Trade Commission

By Sasha Alonzo
hi@sbly.com
Sasha Alonzo is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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