Police: Legitimate businesses do not ask for gift cards as payment

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MONROE, CT — A local woman told police she bought $3,000 worth of Apple gift cards to pay off an outstanding balance on her PayPal account, before realizing it was a scam and canceling the cards, according to an incident reported Tuesday.

“No legitimate business asks you to pay any debt with gift cards,” Police Lt. Kevin McKellick said Friday. “When they reach out to you, they can sound legitimate at first, but once they say, ‘pay with gift cards,’ hang up the phone.”

The woman had received an email at work, notifying her of an outstanding PayPal balance and giving her a number to call. When she did, a man with a Middle Eastern accent answered and she granted him remote access to her computer, where he gained personal information, police said.

The next day, he contacted her and told her to purchase the gift cards. Police said she bought six $500 Apple Gift Cards and sent him a photo with the activation codes.

But then the victim became suspicious and seemed to have managed to cancel the cards in time, so there does not appear to be a financial loss, police said. But officers recommended that she monitor her credit, change her accounts and contact the Social Security Administration.

Smash and grab

A smash and grab burglary occurred at FM One Stop, 447 Monroe Turnpike, early in the morning on Aug. 7.

Police officers responding to an alarm at 1:25 a.m. found the front door was smashed, making a hole in the glass to obtain entry. The cash register was dumped over and the storefront was ransacked, with everything dumped onto the floor, police said.

An undisclosed amount of cash and several cartons of cigarettes were reported stolen, according to police.

The Monroe Detective Bureau is investigating the incident.

DUI on Route 111

A Trumbull man was charged with DUI following a traffic stop on Monroe Turnpike (Route 111) Friday morning.

Samuel Johnson, 23, was also charged with failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to maintain his lane. He was released on $500 bond for an Aug. 23 court date.

At around 12:39 a.m., an officer on patrol saw a silver Nissan Rogue fail to stop for a stop sign on Elm Street, at Cross Hill Road, police said. The officer followed the Nissan onto Route 111, where the vehicle crossed over the center line and almost struck the curb, according to police.

The officer initiated a traffic stop and police said he detected the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage while speaking to the driver, Johnson. Johnson did not perform roadside sobriety tests to standard, leading to the charges, police said.

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