Target Employees Prevent Couple From Losing $4K To Grandparent Scam

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

Every once in a while, a good samaritan — and an informed retail employee — stops customers from becoming victims of a costly scam. Such was the case for a pair of Target employees being lauded for recently helping to prevent a Virginia couple from losing thousands of dollars to the so-called “Grandparents scam.” 

WTVR reports that two Target employees were recognized this week for their quick thinking and ability to recognize that customers were about to send money to a scammer in January.

The couple stopped by the Target store to purchase $4,000 in Target gift cards. Unsure about such a large purchase, the employees began questioning the couple.

As it turns out, the duo had received a phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer who had arrested their grandson.

“The person posing as a police officer explained to the couple that if they wished to get their grandson out of jail, they would need to purchase two Target gift cards of $2,000 apiece,” a Hanover County Sheriff Office’s spokesperson tells WTVR. “Concerned and wishing to help their grandson, the couple immediately drove to the Mechanicsville Target to purchase the gift cards.”

After hearing the couple’s account, the Target co-workers explained that they believed the grandparents were being scammed.

“This simple act of kindness made the couple question their decision and they too recognized they had fallen victim to a heartless scam,” the Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said.

While the incident happened back in January, the Hanover Sheriff’s Office honored the co-workers this week, presenting them with a Challenge Coin.

Target’s employees join a growing list of alert retail workers who have been able to prevent unsuspecting consumers from being scammed:

• Jan. 2017 — A Walmart cashier stopped an elderly Illinois couple from spending $2,500 on gift cards by simply asking for more information. After the couple provided the employee with the phone number they had received a call from, he realized it was listed in national database for scam numbers.

• Feb. 2015 — An alert Safeway employee saved a woman from losing $2,400 to an IRS impersonation scam that alleged the woman owed thousands in outstanding tax debts.

• Sept. 2014 — Well-trained employees at a Safeway store in Maryland were able to stop a couple trying to get $4,000 worth of prepaid debit cards in order to pay off an IRS debt.

• March 2012 — An alert Big Y clerk prevented a woman from falling for the grandparents scam. The local woman had showed up at the regional New England supermarket chain with the intention of using Western Union to wire a “large amount” of cash to one of these scammy callers.