Kenyon PD warns of gift card scam

The Facebook post from the Kenyon Police Department is sad and infuriating. Someone gets scammed for $2,500 and a large area retailer doesn’t seem to be interested in doing much about it. And why would they? They get the money.

04/29/19 5:30pm.Please speak to your loved ones…We took a call for service today regarding a fraud where a local…

Posted by Kenyon (MN) Police Department on Monday, April 29, 2019

  • John

    That’s too bad.

    I believe the victim could share the name of the retailer with us via the Kenyan PD – the store doesn’t really get a vote then. I certainly wouldn’t be sad about adding another chain/store to my personal do not buy list.

    • As near as I can tell the closest big retailer is the Walmart in Faribault.

      • John

        As much as I dislike Walmart, it says in the posting that the victim went to Rochester to buy the cards.

        The sketchiest part (and the genius on the part of the scammer) is that a top end computer is less than $2K these days. To get someone to shell out more than that for repairs is impressive.

        • jon

          Fixing things seems to shuts down people’s minds in interesting ways.

          It’s why mechanics are able to charge for unnecessary service, even years after these scams have been brought into all kinds of light.

          It’s why the phone calls to fix your microsoft windows computer are still common now.

          • BJ

            My mother in law has at least called me every time they call her.

          • jon

            I spent 30 minutes just messing with them once, didn’t have anything else going on and figured the more of their time I wasted the fewer other people they’d call…

            I did tech support for years, I know all the things people say that are the complete opposite of helpful.
            I spent 10 minutes trying to find the “Microsoft windows computer” they were calling about (I don’t actually own any computers that run windows) then I broke out all the old classics… “there is nothing on the screen” “I clicked it but nothing happened” “the screen just turned black… it’s restarting, it does that some times, it’ll take a few minutes to start back up.”

            I finished with a “Do I need to be online for this? I need to hang up with you so the AOL will work.”

            That was the point they hung up…

          • BJ

            Thanks for this.

          • Lulz. Brilliant.

        • I’m guessing the victim is aged.

          • John

            I had assumed, but age shouldn’t be an excuse for making bad economic decisions (i.e. paying 5 times more to repair something than it could cost to replace – I almost bought a major brand laptop a couple weeks ago for $500, so that’s not hyperbole – I wasn’t looking for top end, just functional).

            Getting scammed I understand – it happens. (One could argue that the person didn’t get scammed – they simply made a bad business decision – they agreed to exchange $2500 in gift cards for a service that should have cost very little – that’s essentially what the bank is saying). The scale of the cost is what’s impressive to me.

          • My 97 year old mother was ripped off for $26,000 by a scam. Expecting elderly people to have the same judgement as younger people is absurd. They don’t. That’s the way it is as you age. The scammers know this. The “sucks to be you” crowd, not so much.

      • QuietBlue

        The posting said it happened in Rochester, and they have a number of large retailers there.

  • Federal regulations put a stop to the sale of large quantities of OTC allergy & cold medications with pseudoephedrine. I know that regulating everything is unpopular with Ayn Rand fans, but gift cards are such a common vector in scams that they ought to be subject to similar treatment.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      They are to an extent. Any gift card has to be activated by the cashier. That’s why you can’t purchase them at a self-checkout. Putting them “behind the counter” doesn’t really change the process at all.

      • It’s more than that – you have to sign paperwork for the purchase of pseudoephedrine products AND you are limited in the amount you can buy. A similar process might be employed for the purchase of multiple gift cards during which the customer is informed of scam potential and signs off on the warning.

        • Jack Ungerleider

          Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize the additional paperwork requirement of that process. (It’s probably that I heard about it when it was setup, but I don’t buy those products so haven’t experienced it.)