Best Buy in San Carlos has received San Mateo County’s first-ever “Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Award” for helping to prevent elderly residents from getting scammed out of thousands of dollars.
The award comes following an influx of people purchasing gift cards for thousands of dollars as part of a scam that “targets the elderly,” according to Detective Salvador Zuno of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
Best Buy took action by training cashiers to call security when someone purchases something suspicious, like a high volume of gift cards.
“We train our employees to be engaged and have some knowledge of things you might see that doesn’t seem appropriate in some situations,” said Colin James, general manager of the San Carlos Best Buy.
Zuno said in a recent case these measures saved someone thousands of dollars.
Scammers call disguising themselves as a part of a utility company or branch of government to tell the victim they owe money immediately, threatening arrest in some cases.
The medium for these scammers to receive funds is typically through Apple gift cards. Apple is also aware of this scam.
Government or law enforcement agencies will never call for money — any due funds will be mailed and official. Zuno said residents should never give information over the phone and to always call the company asking for money first to confirm information.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office hopes the new award will encourage other businesses to better protect their customers and cultivate awareness within the community.