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Police warn of parking lot gift card scam

(Sam Penrod/KSL-TV)


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AMERICAN FORK — Police are warning holiday shoppers about a scam that's found its way to the parking lots of some shopping centers.

American Fork Police Lt. Sam Liddiard said the scammers are hanging out outside of big box stores, selling $150 gift cards for $50, or even $70. But when the purchaser goes to use the card, they find out it is completely worthless.

"They are asking for cash out in the parking lot, and they are trying to make some quick money and leave before you can check." Liddiard said.

As of Monday, police had received three complaints. Likely, there are other victims who didn't bother to call police over the $50 or $70 they've lost, Liddiard said.

While the sales pitch may sound really good, the lieutenant wants to remind people to be careful and stay safe.

"Just remember, if it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true," Liddiard said. "If they are willing to go in the store and check it out, at least you are on the video in case we can't find them. Maybe we can find some surveillance video. I would definitely check before I gave them any money."

Police are also warning shoppers to make sure they conceal recent purchases in their vehicles, as they go from store to store, to prevent burglars from stealing their presents.

"People are watching us as we go shopping," Liddiard said. "They are sitting in their car watching us as we go inside. It is a good safety tip: Don't leave packages on the seat. People are out there trying to take advantage of us while we are spending money for the holidays."

He said if you do see something suspicious in a parking lot, whether it is someone trying to sell you something or people looking around in car windows, give your local police department a call and officers will check it out.

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Sam Penrod

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