CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sometimes, scammers pretend to be with government agencies, like the IRS, and threaten to arrest you if you don't pay. Other times, they pretend to be with companies offering you prizes or computer help.
But no matter what their approach, they usually have a few things in common. For one, they want you to pay money using gift cards or prepaid cards.
Many stores train employees to spot customers in this exact situation. If you're on the phone, buying a lot of cards and look stressed, they'll ask you what's going on.
But CVS is going one step further. If you show up at the register with a gift card or prepaid card, you have to read a warning about scams and acknowledge it before before buying them.
CVS also requires ID any time you buy gift or prepaid cards of $300 or more. Plus, CVS will only let you buy $2,000 worth of cards in a single day.
"We all need protection because there's so much going in the world," CVS customer Bonita Francois said.
These people come up with stories and hope people fall for them. Sometimes, they are aggressive and threaten the people. Other times, they play the nice guy and pretend to help.
A scammer called Charlotte resident Jeanine Manning pretending to be with the Social Security Administration.
He told her the agency found many suspicious activities involving her social and planned to arrest her. He wanted her to pay a fee in gift cards.
She did, more than $4,000.
"I worked hard. I had a CD for my kids for when I pass away, I can at least have something for them and now it's gone," Manning said. "I have nothing. It's all gone. I have nothing left."
Recently, scammers wanted you to pay using Green Dot Money Pak cards. Then, they shifted to Visa debit cards and even iTunes gift cards.
© 2020 Cox Media Group