Police share surveillance photos of suspects in gift-card scam

Lawrence police have shared local surveillance images of people suspected in a gift-card scam — one that preys on elderly victims — being investigated by out-of-state agencies.

The photos depict two people in a check-out lane and a black SUV outside. Lawrence police shared the images on social media Wednesday and asked anyone who knows who the people are to call police at 830-7441.

Lawrence police are helping out-of-state agencies in identifying suspects in the scam, which has targeted elderly victims and bilked them out of thousands of dollars, Officer Drew Fennelly said, in an email. This is how the scam works, according to Fennelly: Suspects contact the victim and claim to be a family member who is in jail. Suspects then ask the victim to send gift cards to their “family member” to help the person get out of jail.

“The major red flag in these scams is that no jail is going to take gift cards as payment to bond out, however senior citizens unfamiliar with the technology may not be aware of this, thus are more susceptible to the scam,” Fennelly said.

Fennelly said the suspect or suspects in a pair of incidents were connected to an unnamed local retailer. He said police obtained the photos from the retailer in hopes of identifying the people associated with the fraudulently obtained gift cards.

Do you know these two people? We need to talk to them about scamming elderly people out of thousands of dollars! If you…

Posted by Lawrence Police Department on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

— I’m the Journal-World’s public safety reporter. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or by phone at 785-832-7187. I’m also on Twitter, @saramarieshep.