Boardman man loses more than $4,000 in gift card scam

Staff report


A conscientious Target employee stopped a man, who gave more than $4,000 to a person pretending to be an IRS agent, from losing even more money.

The 53-year-old Boardman man received a call Wednesday morning from a man who claimed he worked at the IRS, according to a police report. The caller told the victim he owed $4,156.29 in back taxes from 2014 through 2016 and if he paid immediately he could avoid an arrest warrant.

The caller instructed the victim to purchase $2,000 in Google Play gift cards from a local drug store, which he did. He then proceeded to Walmart where he purchased an additional $2,156.29 in gift cards, the report said.

As he left the stores, the caller had him read the bar codes on the cards to him, the victim told police.

He then went to Target where he attempted to purchase additional gift cards when a cashier asked him who they were for. He responded that he was on the phone with the IRS, and the cashier told him it was a scam.

The victim attempted to call the number back and received a message that said it was a non-working number from the Youngstown police and fire departments. He received another call moments later from a man who said he was from the Youngstown Police Department and he would need to cooperate to avoid arrest.

The incident is under investigation.

This afternoon, representatives from the Ohio Attorney General’s office and the director of the Ohio Department of Aging will speak to the public at the Austintown Senior Center about fraud exploitation.

The free event will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the center at 112 Westchester Drive, and it will address protection initiatives, advocacy and available services.

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