They say the customer is always right. But sometimes, it’s the cashiers who know best.
At least that was the case recently at a Fry’s grocery store in Chandler, Arizona. Two longtime employees, Stuart and Lori, were working the register that day—and made an unusual move of refusing to let a customer purchase an item.
But it was a decision that may have saved the customer hundreds of dollars.
When a 65-year-old man, referred to as “Joshua,” approached their register, they noticed some unusual behavior. He seemed nervous and uncertain about his purchase.
And even more of a red flag was what he was buying: a few MoneyPak pre-paid gift cards.
“He just wasn’t sure,” Lori told KSAZ. “He wanted to purchase those gift cards, and he seemed a little bit nervous.”
They felt something was up, and told Joshua that they didn’t want to sell him the cards. Joshua recalled the interaction:
“They immediately said, ‘look, if that’s what you want to do, go ahead and do it,'” he told KSAZ.
“Our suggestion is we really don’t want to sell you this, because we think this is a scam.”
Joshua wasn’t buying the gift cards as a gift. A small business owner, he had received calls allegedly from the SRP, a utilities provider in the Arizona area, about an overdue payment.
“They were with SRP, and they were giving us a courtesy notice that the power was going to be disconnected in the next two hours,” Joshua told KSAZ.
They requested the payment in pre-paid gift cards.
But it turns out, this was a scam—a fairly common one, and one that usually targets business owners. But it was apparently also a fairly convincing scam, one that tricked the usually-savvy Joshua.
“After 65 years on Earth, I’ve seen a lot of different stuff, so you wouldn’t think I’d be taken advantage of, and I was.”
Luckily for him, the Fry’s employees recognized the scam, thanks to their job training.
“Fry’s does train us very well as to what to look for and to be aware of,” said Lori.
“Any day we can stop this, it’s a good day.”
According to the KSAZ news report, the actual SRP cautions potential scam victims to be especially alert during weekends and holidays when scammers are more likely to strike, and to call or visit the company directly if they ever have any doubts.
And, as we’ve seen in earlier scam reports, it’s always a red flag when someone insists on being paid in unusual ways like pre-paid cards—that’s just how scammers are able to get away with your money untraced.