SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Gift card scams have become one of the preferred ways for criminals to steal your money.

A Central New York woman thought she’d never fall for one.

She used to work for a telephone company. Now she’s sharing her story to give props to a pair of Target employees and prepare you for when the phone rings.

What happened to Cyndy Parsons happens to millions of Americans starting, innocently enough, with a phone call.

“They told me my identity had been stolen.”

Cindy Parsons recalls a phone call conversation with a scammer

The scammer claimed she was from the Amazon fraud department, directing Cyndy to go to Walmart and buy two 500 dollar Apple gift cards to stop fraudulent activity.

The scammer was on her cellphone when Cyndy got to the register.

“They would not let me buy the two, which is what they wanted me to buy, so then she said, is there another store closer? And I said, well Target.” said Cyndy.

Off she went to target, after buying one card at Walmart, sending photos of it to the scammer. She asked for two 500 dollar Apple gift cards at the Target register with separate receipts.

“I said Amazon is going to reimburse me, and they said, oh no, they’re not, you’re being scammed.”

The scam stopped right at the checkout. Cicero police have been working with stores to put these signs with red flag warnings near gift card racks. Police have been educating cashiers to know what cues to look out for.

Employees are encouraged to get involved rather than pretend they didn’t see it because that’s the final point where they could stop and save someone from being scammed, potentially saving them thousands of dollars.