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Columbus police warn of phone scam targeting convenience stores

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 9:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Columbus Police Department is putting the community on notice with a scam alert. An old trick is popping up across the Fountain City, and it’s targeting the cash registers of local convenience stores.

A detective with the Columbus Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, Braden Dobbins, says, scammers are posing as law enforcement officers over the phone and swindling businesses out of thousands of dollars, and it’s happening frequently across the Valley.

“We’ve been having several scams calling into stores in Columbus Georgia. It’s an old scam, but it’s coming back around,” said Dobbins.

Dobbins says this scam is taking place inside convenience stores.

“They’re pretending to be someone from the corporate office, advising the salesmen or the clerk, that a FBI agent, US Marshall or some other federal agent will be in contact with them, and are wanting the money out of the safe or registers, and telling them to load a gift card with money,” said Dobbins.

Something the detective says is happening all too often and they’re hoping to get a handle on.

“We have investigated about $25,000 in losses in just two days at one store in Columbus. Over the past couple of weeks, we’re at about 40 thousand dollars from this scam,” said Dobbins.

Police have not released the names or places of the businesses involved but Dobbins adds, this week alone, scammers have come up big in one local store.

“Corporate offices will not be calling you at 3, 4 o’clock in the morning, in the middle of the night... on the weekends, telling you to load these gift cards. Anytime someone ask you to load a gift card it will be a scam,” said Dobbins.

Dobbins says, anyone with more information on these type of incidents can contact the Columbus Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit at 706-225-4271.

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