Target apparently hires lazy, apathetic incompetents

So my parents got scammed out of $6,000 today. They’re elderly, and they can’t really afford to lose that much. They’re a bit naive, because having been born abroad, they’re not really well versed in the plethora of scams perpetrated by fetid pieces of detritus all over the world. And worst part is that they love their family so much, that they completely lose any semblance of common sense when they think their children or grandchildren are in trouble.

This particular scam is not uncommon. It’s a well known ruse, and when I sent my dad to the police station to report it, the officer who took his report said he was the third complainant about that scam that day.

The scam is what’s known as the grandparent scam. It’s a variation on one that had been going around Germany a few years ago, in which a parent was ostensibly called by someone associated with their child and told the child had been involved in a crime and arrested, and of course, thousands of dollars were needed to bail said child out of jail. From what I gather, these were Russian speaking criminals, who specifically targeted Russian immigrants, and specifically looked for Russian sounding names in phone directories to swindle people out of money. In this particular case, the grandparent is informed that his or her grandchild is in jail and needs money for bail.

Roger made the mistake of saying his granddaughter Michelle’s name. The female voice didn’t sound familiar, but the woman jumped on Roger’s use of a name and said she was calling from California. She put a “lawyer” on the phone who said Michelle was riding in a car, when police stopped it and found a pound of marijuana under the driver’s seat. Because “Michelle” was riding in the car, she was being held in jail and needed $4,000 to make bail.

But the lawyer didn’t want $4,000 in a wire transfer or money order. He wanted Roger to purchase two $2,000 gift cards from Target.

Crazy as it sounded, Roger said he was so frazzled by his 35-year-old granddaughter possibly being held in jail that he ran to the bank to get $4,000 in cash. He then drove to the Target in Medford, Long Island, and bought the two gift cards.

This is exactly what happened to my father. He was so emotionally frazzled by the idea that Danny was in jail for a DUI, he immediately ran over to Target and purchased four gift cards to send to the scammer.

He was also warned not to contact me, because Danny signed some paperwork that required confidentiality. Not being versed in bail procedures, or legal procedures of any kind, my father – a man with two Masters degrees in engineering – got so frightened at the idea of his grandson being in jail, he kept this from me until it was too late.

This is what these people do. They prey on the fears of the elderly, whom they consider easy marks, and who are likely unfamiliar with the details of such scams, and they strike.

Target is another story, however.

The caller demanded that my father buy the cards with cash, call him back, and give him the gift card numbers over the phone. When my father went back to the Target where he bought the cards three hours later and asked them to flag and cancel those gift cards, they had already been redeemed in another state.

They redeemed the gift cards without having them in hand. Just like that.

A customer came in with $6000 in cash and bought four gift cards. A transaction that large should have set off at least SOME alarm bells.

Structuring of a large transaction into four smaller ones. It’s not quite smurfing as it’s done in financial transfers, but again, any company that deals in cash and gift cards should at least train their personnel to spot suspicious transactions!

And then there’s the redeeming of a large transaction amount in another state. No ID needed. No actual card present. The cards were redeemed in another state within a couple of hours. No one at Target thought this was in any way sketchy? There was no need to have the actual card present?

A little training and awareness would have raised red flags – especially when a customer smurfed a large amount of cash into four smaller transactions, and especially when the cards were then redeemed almost immediately in another state.

Target was aware their gift cards were being used in such a manner, and took what appears to be zero steps in mitigating the problem. When a New York TV station contacted Target public affairs for a statement, they received a canned statement, and never answered the reporter’s question about why these gift cards could be converted or redeemed in another state.

“Target is committed to providing a secure environment for our guests and team members. As a part of that commitment, we take a multi-layered, comprehensive approach to preventing theft and fraud that includes innovative programs and partnerships with local law enforcement, technology and team member training. We are aware of scams like these and have communicated to our store teams in the area. Additionally, we are actively working with law enforcement.”

Actively working with law enforcement, are ya?

Then why is it that an obvious illicit financial red flag was either ignored or missed by your personnel – both on the purchasing end and on the redeeming end?

The Internet is filled with information about financial red flags. You know what is usually first on the list? Be alert to the customer who wants to purchase multiple gift cards, particularly in large dollar denominations.

You know what the best advice is when one is redeeming gift cards? Ask for photo ID!

After being made aware that their cards were being used in a scam, Target, despite their claims to the contrary, apparently did little to nothing to mitigate this problem.

Or, they have morons for employees.

Look, I understand that ultimately, my parents are responsible for becoming victims. They are vulnerable, not always informed, and driven by emotions and a passionate love for their kids and grandkids. That’s why, when someone called claiming their grandchild was in trouble, they sprung into action without thinking, without contacting me, and with only one thought: must help Danny!

My father didn’t ask Target to refund the money. He didn’t cause a scene. He merely asked them to flag the gift cards as fraudulent and deny the transaction if anyone attempted to redeem them. But it was too late. Without so much as a blink, Target allowed $6000 in gift cards to be redeemed within an hour of purchase. In another state. Without ID. And without the cards even being present.

It’s a tough lesson to learn for my parents, for sure.

That said, Target’s inability or unwillingness to mitigate the problem even slightly, after having known about it for several months, and the lack of common sense among their employees when they allowed this transaction to occur without a second glance, and worse yet, allowed the cards to be redeemed in another state without the card being present and without ID being presented almost immediately after the purchase was made, that’s on them.

It’s appalling. I guess being hacked a few years ago didn’t make them any more cautious.

My parents learned. They will call me before doing anything like this again, and I will make sure they don’t screw up.

Target hasn’t learned yet.


58 responses

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

    Can’t “Like”.

    I’m sad about what happened to your parents and the others who fell victim to this scam.

    And yes, Target does look extremely bad here. 😦

    Oh, I encountered another scam.

    My mother got this call from somebody who tried to tell her that she had won a Publisher’s Clearing House prize.

    But to get it delivered by UPS, she had to send them some money not by mail but via Money Order.

    I saw “tried” because her mind was failing her then and she found it hard to understand what they wanted her to do so I took the call for mother.

    After I listen to their “talk”, I hung up on them and explained what they wanted to Mom.

    I give Mom credit because once I explained it to her, she saw it for what it was, a scam.

    By the way, I give those “scammers” some credit for “intelligence”.

    After they called a few times more, the calls stopped but a new series of calls (apparently from the same number or region) started.

    This time they claimed they were from the FBI and they wanted our help in trapping the scammers.

    Obviously they wanted us to send a Mail Order to the scammers in such a way that they could trap them.

    Unfortunately for them, the first call came from IIRC Jamaica and the caller gave his title as something that I didn’t think a real FBI person would use.

    Of course, if the FBI actually wanted civilian help in trapping criminals, they’d be calling from a local FBI telephone number. 👿

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow. That’s just cringey! Glad you were able to stop that in its tracks.


      1. Not sure of the actual mechanics of redeeming gift cards without presenting the physical cards, but two things come to mind (neither of which are likely to help your parents right now): The douchebag scammers have an inside connection at Target who enabled the transaction(s); the cards were redeemed online.

        Online seems less likely since the scammers would have to provide personal information to get what they want. In-store, while it’s certainly possible that the scammers get an IDGAF cashier every time, my money’s on the cashier getting cut in on the deal and informing the scammers which register he/she is running.

        Sorry that your parents were fooled, Nicki. I hope they somehow get their money back, although that does seem unlikely at this point :-/


        1. Here’s the thing. The scammers aren’t in it for Target merch. What they generally do is get several cards, then redeem them for lower value cards at Target, and then sell them.

          It happens all the time, and Target has yet to explain how is it that cards purchased in one state can immediately be redeemed in another state into several more cards with lower amounts. That SCREAMS illicit transaction!

          Thanks for the kind thoughts about my folks, though. They’re probably not going to get that money back, and the lesson is a bitter one they needed to learn. They should have called me. They didn’t. They should have stopped and thought. They didn’t. And that cost them.

          Damn shame, that.


        2. I agree that it’s money laundering, plain and simple. What I’m wondering is if there isn’t something going on that’s more nefarious than idiot employees. Without insider employees it’d be really difficult to reliably run this scam.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I mean, it’s probably possible. But I think it’s volume pure and simple coupled with incompetence and unwillingness to go the extra mile. Just like it’s easier to hide illicit transaction in larger banks due to sheer volume of transactions they have to examine daily, it’s likely a lot easier to run this scam when it’s hidden in millions of dollars in daily transactions. Hard to say, but I’m thinking this may be a case of Occam’s razor. It’s been going on in various states, so we’d have to assume that these guys are putting their associates or finding corrupt personnel in every Target. I’m not sure they’re that industrious. This is a quick and easy way to get money.


        4. Geeze… did I just say “probably possible?”

          MOAR COFFEE!!!!!


    2. One …. er …. business model I got sucked in to was the magazine subscription deal. The caller offered a subscription to a bundle of five magazines, with a five year term. They had a nice selection of magazines, and if you got tired of that bundle, you could swap magazines out for others. What you could not do was cancel. It sounded good enough that I went along with it, and actually did get subscriptions to decent magazines.

      Then the follow-up calls started. I’d get a call from “your magazine subscription service” offering to lower my rate. They just needed to confirm my information.

      Well, no they weren’t lowering my rate, they were signing me up for a whole new subscription. And of course, they had me on tape agreeing to this, having been trained to get some pretty exact working on tape. I suppose a good enough lawyer could have broken it, but I didn’t want to pay a lawyer, since it would probably cost more than I could recover.

      On a subsequent call, I made the mistake of “confirming” my credit card number with the caller. However, the caller made the mistake of charging that card before getting my permission. After getting off the phone, I pulled up the information on the entity placing the charge. After a day, more information came up, and I was able to identify the company and the location of its home office.

      After that, my next act was to email the Attorney General’s office of that state, Bunco Division. (Found that online.) I wound up having a very long conversation and email exchange with a Deputy Attorney General who was dealing with that company, and who asked if I’d be willing to testify. It didn’t come to that, as the company arrived at a plea deal, but I was assured that they did not dodge a bullet.

      Live and learn.

      And this explains the tagline on my email messages: “Magazine Telemarketers Delenda Sunt.”


  2. This is especially egregious against seniors. I hope they burn…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BillyBob Texas | Reply

    Sorry about your parents. Would have never happened to me – as I will NEVER darken the door of Target for another reason….their invitation for pedophiles to enter the little girls dressing rooms.
    Some argue with THAT – but it’s their Corporate policy.
    My folks would have told the dirtbag that they might be able to send some WalMart cards….but not from Target……..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The more I think about this, the more I think a lawyer who dug up a class of people like your parents could get a decent class action lawsuit against Target.

    This looks to me like Target is in fact criminally negligent here given that they have been the enabler of these scams for at least four months now. As such they have had plenty of time to implement controls to stop this. It occurs to me that they may have a financial incentive to not implement the controls since they presumably make money when then card is used and this would be a good reason for the lawyer to use to sue them.

    The controls needed to stop this, especially in a physical card not present form, are ridiculously simple. All you need to do is simply say that if the physical card is not present the card may not be used for, say, 2-3 days after purchase. There’s almost no legitimate reason to use a card so soon after it is bought and in the vanishingly few cases where it is, the user will have the physical card.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. > criminally negligent

      The various authorities turned a blind eye to identical Western Union scams for decades. It’s doubtful they’d do anything about the gift card scams.


  5. Someone tried that on my mother and my mother believed that I had been arrested and needed several thousand dollars in legal fees. However, the scammers didn’t count on my relationship with my mother. She hung up on them and then called me to yell at me about how stupid and irresponsible I am and that I would rot in jail before she would send me one red cent. It took me a good half hour to convince her that it was a scam and that I wasn’t in any legal trouble.

    I think she was disappointed.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Calls from telemarketers wanting money to support whatever veterans’ cause they’re pumping this month. I tell them I have $16 to make it through the rest of the month and hang up. The most offensive one is the recording of this bimbo who says ‘Hello? Oh! I thought there was something wrong with my headset’ and then proceeds to rattle off the specs for a cruise I’m eligible to win.
    Oh, there was a recent news release about the IRS hiring a collection agency to get your unpaid taxes out of you. In view of those fake IRS robocalls that have been going on for a while, the best thing to do is to tell them ‘fuck off and die, tell the revenuers to come and get me’ and then hang up.
    There is no such thing as peace of mind any more.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yep – I’ve gotten that one a good few times in the last months. The most insidious are the ones which have managed to cloak their call from a number in my area code. And of course – I do business and an unknown number calling might be a potential client. So I have to answer. But if I just say the name of my Tiny Bidness immediately and then stay silent until their spam recording kicks in …
      Real callers will state their business immediately. With the spammers, there always is a long pause, or perhaps a hang-up after a few seconds.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Hola? No hablo Englese. Se habla espanol? No hablo englese. No comprendo.”

        Works sometimes. Most of the assholes from Mumbai trying to sell me fake Viagra don’t speak-o mexican-o.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I was dealing with a fake tech support person once. “I’m from Microsoft. You have malware on your computer. Let me help you get rid of it for you.”
          It being a slow day, I went along with him, and “helpfully” did everything he asked me to do. Of course, this being a work computer, I’m not the admin, nor do I have the admin password. So I probably wasted half an hour of his time running in to the brick wall of “I don’t have and can’t get the admin password”.
          Putting him on hold a couple of times probably wasted more time he could have spent scamming people.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. BillyBob Texas

          YEP! I’m retired – and most of the time it pisses me off that I get such calls……but, every now and then…….I tie them up for 20 – 30 minutes……I will often tell them I’ll be off the phone for a few minutes while I’m looking for the card……and put the phone into my desk drawer…….and every few minutes open it up and yell that I am still looking !! “Just hold on! I’ll find it and buy the 200 Viagra pills for $100 !! Don’t hang up !!” THAT’s good for another 5 minutes…….:-)


        3. You too, eh? LOL


        4. Other computer scams take a lot less time. Today, I found an email in the Water Quality Customer Services account, saying the account had been used to receive a payment. Just unlock this file with the password provided in the body of the message. That one I just forwarded to IT Security.


    2. Sara, that “Hello, oh, I thought there was something wrong with my headset” is a recording. I’ve gotten that one twice, and one of my coworkers got it once that I know of.

      Which makes it ten times as annoying.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Here’s a fun one I had, Sara… i got calls from a (legit) Veteran’s cause asking for money…

      Took me a minute to figure out where they had my phone number from…

      They got it off my resume when i applied to them for a JOB a couple months earlier.


  7. Here’s another one people should be warned of – someone from “Microsoft” will call you and tell you that your computer is infected with a virus, and that “you need to go to this website and download this program.”

    My dad gets calls from these people every few weeks or so. He even told them that his son (me) is a computer technician for IBM (which is true), and they responded by telling him that me working on his computer is a violation of the Microsoft license agreement, and that he still needed to download their software.

    Like the Target scheme Nicki mentioned, they tend to target the elderly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah….Microsoft……tell them you don’t understand very much about computers – and tell them you’ll try to do what they want…..delay….make them repeat…ask them what a window is….what do I do with the little pad thing on the wire…etc., etc., The longer you keep them on the line……the less $$$ they make. When they get ready to hang up…have them wait, while you go get your young daughter who knows how this thing works….put the phone down….go on about your day…..and about every couple minutes…..yell for your daughter….who is upstairs….to come down and help you and the nice gentleman on the computer……keep feeding them enuff to keep them on the line and cost them $$$…

      Another good one – same objective. Tell them you will send them a check….they don’t take checks…..they will take a credit card……tell them you have to go get it….put the phone down and go about your day. Every couple minutes, yell for “Mildred! Where is our credit card?” and that’ll hold them for a few more minutes…..yell, “Go look in the car”……more time wasted……..get on and tell them you are still looking – but certainly want to buy whatever they are selling…..set the phone down again and go mow the yard…etc., The more time they spend – the more $$ they don’t make. Finally, tell them to take you . off the list….they won’t….just keep doing this everyday and laugh your way to health!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. FuckTarget. The company has already sufficiently demonstrated such a total disregard for the personal and financial security of their customers (can you say, “massive data breaches”) that I have not set foot in any of their stores for several years. If I were to ever think about changing my mind on that in the future, I will simply remember what happened to your parents, Nicki.

    Plus they unnecessarily kissed Demanding Moms asses regarding their policy on firearms in their stores. So double-fuck them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We get those IRS scam calls all the time. A few of my coworkers, all foreign nationals on work visas (I work for a software company), were freaking out a few months back because they’d been called and were all convinced they were either going to be thrown in jail or deported. It took those of us familiar with the scam a few days to convince everyone that it was a scam and they weren’t actually in trouble with the law.

    I got targeted by a phone scam once. Called my cell phone every tuesday between 1:20 and 1:40 PM, only I worked Tuesday afternoons and couldn’t have my phone on me (this was back when I worked at The Supermarket) and they never left a message. FInally I had a Tuesday off and answered the phone. Caller said that they were calling from my car insurance company and I had the opportunity to save money on my policy. I pretended that I couldn’t hear them and asked them again who they were calling from. The woman on the other end said, and I quote, “Your car insurance company.” Big Red Flag right there.

    So I replied, “I’m sorry, there must be some mistake. I don’t own a car.”

    You could hear the proverbial record player scratch over the phone as her mind went into vapor-lock for a second.

    “I… I’m sorry?”

    “Yeah, I don’t own a car.”

    She couldn’t get off the phone fast enough.

    And the thing is, I was telling the truth: I didn’t own a car at the time. I drove my father’s second car and his contact information was on the policy, not mine. No way our real insurance company would have called me for anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had people calling about my home mortgage being in arrears for a while. I kept explaining to the same company that I do not own a home, I rent, and to please stop calling. Eventually it got through, I guess.


  10. As far as shopping at Target goes, I do confess to shopping there, but only because I have no choice and can’t wait for Amazon Prime. K-Mart is a dump, and the local Wal-Marts are a cross between The Twilight Zone and Ramadi or Fallujah on a *really* bad day (i.e. you take your life in your hands just by pulling into the parking lot). On the rare occasion I do shop there, I always pay cash. They can’t let my data get compromised if I don’t give it to them in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heh. When I was in USA I found out I kind of had to use cash, ATMs were pretty much the only place where my European bank given cards, both debit and credit, would work reliably. Those times in hotels when they would accept only a credit card it was always a nervous several minutes while we kept trying, and trying again, but while the transactions did always go through in the end I quit trying on gas stations and stores after the first couple of times.


      1. If you go traveling again, call your card issuer and ask if they can provide you with a card that’s valid where you’re going.

        Another option, in the USA anyway, is to buy a “prepaid” credit card and then cash out what you don’t use when you’re done. There are usually fees involved, but probably small enough to be worth the hassle of dealing with companies that act like cash is some kind of radioactive poison.


        1. Thanks for the hint. Cards issued here are supposed to work everywhere, but it seems there is bit of a maybe in that supposed. Maybe it’s about the connections, might take a while before the validation from here to there gets through.

          But yep, no problems with the ATMs.


  11. Back in the days when robo-callers were primitive and would let you record a message, and keep recording as long as you were talking, I had one call me and–just to see if it would let me–read aloud the whole of “The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” (I had it handy.) I always wondered if whoever was tasked with transcribing the information listened to the whole thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I rarely answer the phone if I don’t recognize the calling number, but sometimes..

    “Unknown name” “masked number”

    Moi: Heh.


    Moi: Federal Bureau of Investigation, [….] office. Special Agent Smith speaking. May I help you?

    Caller: Uh. What. Um…


    And no more calls from that faked number.

    (Yes, I do shit like this. And then there was the time during Desert Storm and the _encrypted_ line…)

    Liked by 3 people

  13. “Then why is it that an obvious illicit financial red flag was either ignored or missed by your personnel – both on the purchasing end and on the redeeming end?”

    While you have a point here, Nicki, I think the answer to that question is very simple. In a nutshell, it’s because people are so nasty and so quick to get offended that no employee wants to risk setting a customer off. I’d be leery of doing so, if I were an employee.

    The way some customers just freak right the fuck out at the slightest provocation makes some employees (particularly in retail) very gun-shy about doing anything that might set them off. I can absolutely see it going down like this: employee asks some questions, customer gets the idea that they’re suspected of something, customer explodes with indignation, demands to speak to employee’s manager, and rants nonstop about how they were “profiled” by the awful, horrible, disrespectful employee.

    Unfortunately, a lot of retail managers still cling to the “customer is always right” mindset and will absolutely discipline or terminate an employee to soothe a customer’s rustled jimmies. Better that than risk the customer posting on social media that a Target employee just accused them of financial shadiness.

    That employee’s got bills to pay and/or kids to feed, so a lot of them are going to keep their heads down, offer rictus smiles to the customers that make their working life a hellish wasteland, and let the chips fall where they may. The end result, unfortunately, is that people like your parents are preyed upon by thieving jackwagons.

    I very much doubt your father would have reacted that way to a few gentle questions, but given how it seems like so many people are ready to detonate in righteous indignation at the slightest stimulus. To your average retail-monkey, it’s not worth the risk.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. A couple of weeks after hearing about the grandparent scam on the Jeff Levy show, I got an email from a friend. She had been in an accident in London (how did she get there in less than two days? On her budget???) and had been hospitalized. She needed money for the hospital bill (in London? Single payer medicine?) and to get her passport back from the hotel.
    It had her email as the return email, either spoofed or her account was hacked. I replied, asking for more details, and got a reply from almost the same email. Instead of “” it was “”. (I pulled up the initial email, and the alternate email was in the “reply-to” field, which is not usually displayed.)
    I asked a few more questions, just to establish once and for all that this was a hoax. Then I suggested that “she” give me the address where “she” was, and I could have a mutual friend in London drive over and assist “her” in person.
    For some reason, the chain of emails ended right there.
    Pity, this friend is a probation officer in London, and once subdued and apprehended for the police a fellow who made the mistake of trying to mug her. Alas, I could never have gotten there in time, with popcorn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So I guess the moral of the story is, if you’ve heard about any given type of scam, you’re a little less likely to be taken in by it when someone tries it on you. I assume you’ve sat your parents down and talked about the various ways people try to scam money over the Internets?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I got one of those e-mails. Mistake was picking the associate who is an College English teacher – one whose biggest complaint is the lack of proper grammar being taught in American HS. Never mind that Syd would have e-mailed the parental unit instead of me, when I spotted three mistakes in the letter I knew it wasn’t her. I hit reply and told her that her e-mail had been hijacked. The person e-mailed back and insisted that it really was her. Still with typos and incorrect grammar. I had to laugh.


  15. And maybe Target should be treated like one.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Reblogged this on Spin, strangeness, and charm and commented:
    Nicky Kenyon’s elderly parents fell prey to what is apparently known among fraud investigators as “the grandfather scam”. Target, Inc. is not exactly covering themselves in glory here. None of her usual NC-17 rated invective in this post. Read, weep, and BE WARNED.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m sorry that your parents got scammed!


    1. Me too. Thank you. It’s a lesson they learned the hard way. My dad’s excuse was “Well, I didn’t want to call you and worry you,” which is literally the dumbest thing I’d heard yesterday. But as he said, “I learn from my mistakes.”

      Interesting thing is that Target is located in a town that’s chock full of elderly and retirees! The fact that Target knew their gift cards were being used for a scam and did nothing to provide even a modicum of training for their personnel to recognize these scams and at the very least flag them, says a lot about their corporate culture.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it does, Corp should be a shame of themselves allowing this to go unchecked


  18. My ex mother in law, who recently passed away, was scammed for over 30,000$. The kids simply were so glad to have her able to take care of herself, they didn’t bother to watch her close enough to make sure that she was able to actually take care of herself. And as for Target, if they don’t care enough about their customers that they are willing to ignore their financial security for the little money that they stand to make over the sale of a few gift cards, that tells a lot about their corporate mindset.


  19. Something seriously wrong at Target. On several occasions I’ve tried to get cash out of gift cards. Never managed to, that was in person with card in hand.


  20. Hate to hear this, Wish I could tell that as a result I will boycott Target but the truth is I MAY have been in one once about 20 years ago but am not sure and have not had any need to shop there since,.


  21. JessInTheMidwest | Reply

    We had some lowlife attempt something similar with my husband’s grandma. He called and told her that he was on the east coast and our car had broken down and we needed money to have to fixed, get a room, etc. Luckily, she had the wherewithal to tell them she had to check her finances and would call them back. Instead, she called me and checked the situation out. From what we were told afterward, the guy got an earful when he called back.
    Some people are just opportunistic assholes.


    1. My mom actually tried to get my dad to call me first, but his first instinct was to “protect” his grandson, because he didn’t want him to get in trouble, so he didn’t listen to her. You better believe I absolutely lost it with him. My bottom line was, “EVEN if this was true, how DARE you withhold information about MY CHILD from me? Who the fuck do you think you are? I am his mother!” That really gave him a wake-up call. I was PISSED.


  22. Sorry this happened to your parents. However Target is not the bad guy here. Putting more “safeguards” in place will be just as effective as more gun control laws — in other words it will only harass legitimate transactions.

    Also I would strongly recommend having your parents declared incompetence and take over their finances in order to prevent them from being scammed again. It is sad when a loved one is no longer capable of living in the world, but this should be your wake up call to deal with the issue now instead of later when they’ve lost their house or their entire savings.


    1. OK, first of all, having people declared incompetent because they fell for a scam that played on their emotions is ridiculous and cruel. Would you want to be declared incompetent and relieved of the right to control your own assets because you made a mistake? Yeah, I didn’t think so. They’re perfectly capable of “living in the world,” and have done so for decades, so you can take that shit and shove it. I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your parents, but that’s not something I would ever do to them. It’s a dick move. I did, however, sit them down for a talk about sharing information with me, ensuring that they run anything that potentially can cause them financial loss through me, and discussing these types of decisions. They promised they would. End of conversation.

      Second of all, teaching staff to recognize potential illicit financial activity, when you’re a company that deals in high volumes of cash IS something they should be doing. Banks have “safeguards” in place, as well as reporting mechanisms to help stop illicit proceeds from touching the US financial system. And they do. To the tune of billions per year. So while it may not be effective in all cases, if an alert cashier can stop even one elderly victim from falling prey and stop an illicit actor from getting a payday, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.


      1. BillyBob Texas | Reply

        I’m thinkin’ that using THOSE parameters, about 46% of the American Voters would be declared incompetent—which they really ARE!!!!


      2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

        Nod, some banks do have safeguards for when people take out large sums of money for no apparent reason.


        1. Not some banks. It’s a regulatory requirement for high value cash transactions.


  23. Any chance of issuing a civil writ against Target for their negligence? Do they even have a fraud prevention department? Showing that someone is taking legal action should be enough to make them tighten up their procedures. Then at least this avenue of thievery would be blocked off.


    1. I’m not sure how useful that would be, honestly. National press didn’t prompt them to act. Plus, it is ultimately my parents’ fault. They would feel awful suing because they were naive.


  24. Walmart is just as bad. My grandmother just lost $36,000 to the same damn scam but with Walmart cards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My other grandmother got a similar call. Apparently, the conversation went, “Grandma, it’s your grandson. I’m in jail in Mexico and I need help.” “Which grandson?” “Alex.” “Why don’t you call your mother, Janet?” “I tried! She’s out of town and I really need help now!” “Alex’s mother isn’t named Janet. Nice try, does your mother know what you do for a living? Taking advantage of old, blind women?” “Click”

      Liked by 1 person

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