Sterling Heights grandmother warns about gift card scam that cost her $4,000

Posted at 11:22 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-30 13:50:51-05

An elderly woman says she was duped out of thousands of dollars after thieves pretended to be her grandson on the phone.

The scam involves gift cards, the major retailer Target and playing on the emotions of the elderly. The woman coming forward says she wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Mary Ann Donovan says she was the victim of the scam where thieves pretended to be a family member.

The caller pretended to be Donovan’s grandson and told the 87-year-old Sterling Heights resident he was a passenger in a friend’s car - when police pulled them over.

He said he was arrested when officers found a gun and drugs.

Donovan says the man claiming to be her grandson was crying on the phone, pleading with her to send money and said if she did it right away, he could get out of jail.

Sandy Lucido, Donovan’s daughter, says she believes this is a crime Target could help prevent.

Lucido says she’s wondering how an 87-year-old woman can walk into a store to buy $4,000 in gift cards and no one questions it.

Donovan says she called police and was told there was nothing they could do about it. Now she’s left wondering what she can do about it herself.

That is why Donovan came forward. She wanted to protect her family, but now she wants to protect yours by making sure you know about it.

The scammer had her call them and give the gift card number over the phone.

In similar cases, those gift cards are then used to purchase prepaid credit cards online from target and that can all be done online.