Stop signs are showing up in stores that sell gift cards, and they're warning of a scam that's been targeting residents throughout Palm Beach County.
Boynton Beach Police spokesperson Stephanie Slater says the Crime Prevention Unit has teamed up with retailers to post these signs. She tells us the scam could come in a phone call or email and it takes on several different scenarios.
"Typically they'll say that either a family member has been arrested and they need you to wire money in order to secure that family member's release. There is also the IRS scam where they'll say that you owe money on your taxes and there'll be a warrant out for your arrest if you do not pay for it."
And they order you to purchase a gift card to make payment.
While Stephanie says the crooks are targeting all ages and races, those falling victim to it are most often our seniors. She says the fact that they're more trusting than the rest of us is only a part of it.
"When they hear that their grandson has been arrested, they immediately get scared and want to do something to help their grandchild."
She says law enforcement will never take payment to release someone from jail and the IRS will never call to threaten to lock up someone for not paying taxes.
Slater worries because people become so concerned that they may think irrationally, so these signs that are in CVS, Walgreen's and other stores in Boynton are there to make would-be victims think twice.
The sign reads: "Are you here to buy a gift card to make a payment because you received a phone call or e-mail alleging you owe money? Ask yourself, have you ever paid a bill with a pre-paid gift card or money order? Report suspicious phone calls and e-mails to the police before sending any money!"
Photo: Boynton Beach Police Dept.