A fraudster in South Carolina combined the tradition of pranking fast food restaurants with a new variation of the CEO scam last week, convincing employees at a Starbucks to give them all of the money in the store.
The State reports that employees at a Bluffton, SC, Starbucks unwittingly gave a scammer $2,600 from the register last week.
According to the local Sheriff’s office, a woman called the store Friday evening claiming to be from the chain’s corporate offices.
The caller told the employee that there was an investigation into allegations of embezzlement, and that the store’s district manager had been arrested.
The schemer didn’t ask for bail money for the manager, as one fraudster did at a Subway in Arkansas this spring. Instead, she told the employee that the store was $4,000 short because of the embezzlement, and that the employee would need to take all of the money from the register and safe and close early, the State reports.
The employee was then instructed to have a co-worker take the money from the store and wait for instruction on what to do with the funds. When that man didn’t return after an hour, the employee who first spoke to the alleged scammer contacted police.
While police were at the store investigating, they contacted the location’s district manager, who confirmed he was not arrested.
The State reports that the second employee returned about an hour later. According to police, the employee had received a call from the supposed corporate worker, who instructed him to transfer $1,000 through Walmart MoneyGram and exchange the rest for prepaid cards. The funds and cards were then transferred to the scammer, who was located in Alabama.