SCAM ALERT: Kinney Drugs ramping up its gift card scam prevention program

Local News

(WSYR-TV) — Kinney Drugs offers a wide selection of gift cards in addition to their own. They’re now warning customers of common gift card scams that have unfortunately been linked to thousands of Americans losing money — scams which have spiked this year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Some of these scams can be upwards of $8000.

Kinney Drugs reminds customers that gift cards are for gifts and not for payments. Scammers love them because once they get the information, they have the money — which you can’t get back.

In response, Kinney Drugs is making sure customers are tuned in.

Kinney Drugs has alerts all over their gift card sections. Signs warning of scams and announcements on the store radio help inform customers — but the most effective ammunition is right at the register.

Employees at Kinney Drugs are trained to help customers identify when they might be getting scammed. This includes asking the customer some non-intrusive questions, which is mandatory for purchases over $500. Employees might ask if purchased gift cards are really for gifts or if someone called and asked the customer to buy them.

Kinney Drugs shares how these scam calls commonly go down on their website, which we’ve also added here.

The Set-up

It usually begins when someone calls you about an urgent matter. These scammers can claim to be a variety of people, like:

  • A government agent threating legal action or to cut off your benefits
  • An employee from a utility company threating to cut off your service
  • A technical support person saying they need to repair your computer
  • An employee from a bank, mortgage company, or landlord saying you owe money and threatens legal action
  • Someone from a sweepstakes saying you’ve won a prize, but need to pay fees or other charges first
  • Someone who owes you money and has sent you a check for too much, requesting the difference returned via gift card

The Purchase

Once you’ve been convinced, the scammer will likely give you instructions on how to move forward. They might tell you:

  • Which gift cards to buy and in what specific amounts
  • To go to specific stores or buy cards at several stores to avoid suspicion
  • To remain on the phone with you while you go to the store

The Close

Once you’ve purchased the cards, the scammers will always ask for the information on the card. Once they get it, your money is gone.

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