‘If you have to buy gift cards, it’s going to be a scam’

(ABC 6 News) – After yet another Rochester resident fell prey to scammers asking her to buy gift cards to ‘prevent the loss of her money,’ Capt. Casey Moilanen of the RPD reminded residents to spread the word that no law enforcement, bank, e-commerce, or other website worker will ever ask them to buy gift cards as part of a hacking or identity theft investigation.

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If a caller asks someone to buy gift cards and provide redemption codes or photos, the caller is always a scammer, he added.

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An 82-year-old Rochester woman told police that between Aug. 25 and 31, she had sent $3,600 in gift cards to scammers pretending to work for Amazon, Moilanen said.

On the 25th, the woman said she received a notice on her phone that she may have been hacked.

The woman called the provided number and reached a scammer pretending to work for Amazon, who said her finances were in danger and she needed to buy prepaid gift cards in order to protect her money.

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The woman told police that the scammers somehow made it appear to her that they had deposited $2,000 into her bank account.

It is unclear whether the woman received an email, altered screenshot, or other piece of digital evidence that convinced her she had gotten the $2K deposit.

The woman purchased $3,600 in prepaid gift cards and provided the redemption codes to the scammer over the phone, over a period of several days.

Moilanen said she did not explain to police how she realized she was being scammed.

125 Live has a course on online and phone scams for elderly adults scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8.

The course is free and open to the public. Interested parties can call to register by Sept. 6 at 507-287-1404.