Gift-card scam targets CSRA seniors, who lose thousands

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 11:37 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 11:39 AM EDT
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MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Fraudsters are duping local residents out of tens of thousands of dollars — and older adults are often the victims.

In that past few days, two Columbia County seniors were the victims of scams involving target gift cards.

On Monday, a Martinez man told Columbia County deputies that he was downloading Amazon Prime on his Roku device, but the download froze and he got a message to call a phone number for assistance.

He called the number and spoke with a male subject identifying himself as Grant.

Grant subject told the victim he froze his account due to suspicious purchases on the account. He said there were several purchases in Chicago adding up to $6,000.

Grant told the victim he could decline the purchases and unlock his account, but he needed to purchase two $500 Target gift cards.

The victim went to a drugstore and purchased the gift cards and returned home, then sent the access codes to the listed number via text.

Grant then unlocked the Amazon account but told the victim another $500 gift card was needed in order to cancel the $6,000 purchases.

Last week, a 65-year-old Grovetown woman also fell prey to a Target gift card scam.

It happened after she was checking her bank statement and noticed charges of $3.99 and $4.99 from what was listed as Apple with a phone number also attached.

She called that number and was told to buy two Target gift cards of $500 each and send the access codes.

She did as she was asked but was only able to get two gift cards totaling $750 and handed over the access codes.

By the time she realized she’d been tricked, the cards had been emptied, deputies reported.


A 67-year-old Martinez woman told deputies on Friday she was tricked by a man she met on

The man claimed to be a Michael Williams of 323 Path Way in Pittsburgh and sent her a picture of his purported driver’s license, which ultimately proved to be fake, according to deputies.

He gained her trust by paying off her credit card bills, a deputy wrote.

She then gave him her bank account information.

After that, she discovered the checks the man used to pay off her bills were phony.

She then discovered all her money had been withdrawn from her account.

Crossed wires

A 57-year-old homebuyer told Columbia County deputies Friday she she was defrauded out of $59,449.13.

She stated that she was purchasing a house and was using an Evans law firm for representation.

She was emailed on Aug. 16 by one of the paralegals that she could submit her money by cashier’s check or wire transfer. She was emailed the next day by someone she thought was the paralegal stating that she could not accept a cashier’s check and that the money needed to be wired.

The homebuyer sent the money to the account provided in the new email and then got in contact with the law firm’s representative and was informed that the second email was fake.

The law firm is also investigating with its information technology company to determine whether the firm was hacked.