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Ripoff Report | Lowes Home Center, LLC Review - Lodi, california
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Report: #1506217

Complaint Review: Lowes Home Center, LLC ( Lodi CA) - Lodi california

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  • Reported By: Tammy — Livermore United States
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  • Lowes Home Center, LLC ( Lodi CA) 1389 S Lower Sacramento Rd Lodi, california United States

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Long story cut short.  My parents were party to an internet scam that led them to Lowe's and Target stores to purchase Target gift cards as security.  Lowe's in Lodi, CA sold them $14,000 worth of gift cards, and Target in Lodi, CA sold them another $8,000 worth of cards.  Although retailers claim to have policies in place to help prevent gift card fraud, both of these locations fell short in stopping the sale of cards.  Target claims to have put policies in place to reduce the amount you can buy in a single checkout from $5,000 to $2,000 back in 2018 however they did not adhere to their own policy on 12/11/2020.  Lowe's apparently does not have any rules in place for stopping fraud. 

No one at either location questioned the purchases or thought to stop the transactions.  The FTC has a fraud prevention package on their website with display rack  flyers and cashier infographic cards that can be laminated that clearly state 'Hang up on Gift Card Scams" - and "Buying a Gift Card to pay someone, STOP. it's a SCAM!" But neither locatin cared enough about stopping fraud to bother using these tools.  Since December 11, 2020 we have filed reports with local police, FTC, Attorney General, Lowe's Corporate office as well as Target Corporate Office to no avail. 

We get a lot of apoligies but no one is willing to take any responsibility for unethical behavior.  We also reached out to our local KPIX 5 news orgainzation ( they were very kind and as helpful as they could be).  Gift Cards are big money for retailers, but they don't want to participate in education - (unless they have fraud warnings on their websites - let's face it a victim of fraud is not logging into a website to do research ).  Also, all $22,000 worth of cards were used by 3pm (maybe before) on 12/12/2020 ( 24 hours after purchasing) when my sister and I found out about the scam.  ( Retailers can track gift cards from purchase to redemption, but no rad flags came up in Target's system?) 

Retailers need to be held responsible for egregious transactions.  With all of the reports filed, we still have not found anyone to help us or acknowledge any wrong doing.  Not to mention my parents are out $22,000!!!  Go on the internet and read about all of the scams -  Retailers need to be held accountable!!!!!   

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/19/2021 04:01 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/report/lowes-home-center-llc-lodi-ca/lifornia-target-sold-parents-1506217. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#12 General Comment

And at no time...

AUTHOR: John - (United States)

POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2021

...did your parents even consider calling a family member, friend, or attorney, or tell the bank what was going on?  Why were they acting so completely guilty that they couldn't reach out to ANYBODY during a five-hour, multiple phone-call scam with a total stranger?

I think the real problem- a bigger problem than $22000 gone- is that your parents are completely isolated from anyone who doesn't live within the walls of their home.  I notice you breeze right past this in an effort place blame ANYWHERE else.  Why aren't you the kind of child your parents feel they can call with ANY problem, but ESPECIALLY a potentially ENORMOUS one like this?

Meanwhile, I do agree that Lowe's acted irresponsibly IF your story (or your parents' story) is accurate.  But I find it very hard to believe that it is.  If Lowe's violated it's own policies concerning gift cards, you may well have a case and should pursue it legally.  But going forward, please fix your relationship with your parents.  There's no way they should have felt so disconnected that they couldn't call their own flesh and blood to talk about this. 

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#11 Author of original report

And at no time-

AUTHOR: Tammy - (United States)

POSTED: Monday, March 22, 2021

 Actually the relationship I have with my parents is quite good. I see them 3-4 times per month. Yes, they did want to call us. Unfortunately the person scamming them suggested that the information found on their computer was so detrimental that if they were to contact anyone about it, it could make the situation worse. They were told that anyone contacted could be part of criminal action that could be pursued by law enforcement resulting in jail time.

They were actually trying to protect us. It’s unfortunate they were made to be so frightened. Again I go back to blaming the victim or the lack of relationship with family when neither is to blame. I think in any good relationship a parent would always choose to protect their children. I know I would! The scammers are good, I’ll say that. They come from a position of authority. They stress the criminal ramifications if their instructions are not followed immediately. They keep you on the phone further creating anxiety and fear, and hundreds of people (some quite intelligent) somehow fall victim each and every year to the tune of millions of dollars.

It’s easy to question how someone could fall for these scams- I’ll be 100% honest, I had the same question when I saw them the day after the event. Both of my parents were traumatized the next day and for weeks following. It was crazy to see what the ordeal had done to them. The shame of admitting they believed what the person on the phone was telling them, the disbelief they did what they were told, and the utter humiliation of having to admit to us and the police what happened. Not to mention the devastating monetary loss.

While it’s easy to sit back and judge, I guess you don’t know what goes through the mind of a victim during the ordeal- fear of losing everything was a big part of their fear - which ironically happened anyway. My complaint with Lowe’s is that 80 year old people don’t generally pop in with $20k in cash and buy $14k in gift cards. I’m no genius but I might have a question or two about such a transaction.

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#10 Author of original report

Ignoring the questions?

AUTHOR: Tammy - (United States)

POSTED: Monday, March 22, 2021

Thanks for your concern- it seems you are doing some investigating on your own so let me help you out a little. You failed to answer some of the most important questions, likely due to the fact you are realizing the narrative you are trying to put forward has some issues. Purchases were all cash - transactions with same cashier - 1 hour 40 minutes of buying, running to car to give numbers then going back in and buying more?

Manager had to come to checkout stand each time to process an override ( I’m sure due to the dollar amount spent) - You can't be sure about anything about the transaction. You are relying on your parents to tell the story of the day. The same parents you are saying are not capible of making their own decisions and need to have someone watch over them. Answer- I’m not sure you understand the Psychological effects of being scammed.

You’re operating on fear, You’re not thinking clearly, and you are trying to resolve an issue that doesn’t exist. This has nothing to do with being able to make your own decisions or having someone watch over you. Scammers are great at manipulating and having you believe that if you call someone they too will be in trouble. I find it odd that you would blame a victim, but that’s what happens due to ignorance, and this is why many of these crimes go Unreported. I can be sure about what I am saying because I’m relying on the receipts that are time stamped and clearly indicate the cashier processing the transactions.

You keep bringing up FINCen but fail to realize that this has no bearing and is irrelevant. Answer - this is relevant. (If you want more information you can look up the final rule. Federal register volume 76 number 146 dated Friday, July 29, 2011 rules and regulations. FINCen also states that retailers are obligated under the BSA rules to file reports on the receipt of currency in excess of $10,000 in the course of engaging in trade or business. - Please provide a specific link to this statement. They also state that retailers should have policies in place to prevent sales of over $10,000 enclosed loop access to a single person in a single day. - Preventing sales of more than $10,000 to a single person per day? Again please provide the exact statement where this is mentioned.

Not only is it not logical, as you apparently haven't bought new appliances, electronics, furniture, home improvement, jewelry, or even cars in the last few decades. Where a $10,000 sale can be quite common. Answer- I didn’t say that this rule prevents a sale of more than $10,000 - I said retailers should have policies in place to prevent the sale of closed loop cards ie; gift cards of more than $10,000. (You can search The regulation I provided above if you want to see more information on that. But even if there was such a restriction you do realize there is one major flaw. This wasn't a single person. This was BOTH of your parents. So there were 2 people buying a total of $14,000 in Gift Cards from one store or only $7,000 per person, which is under this arbitrary limit you are wanting.

Answer- it was clear that my parents were together. They were swapping money from an envelope back-and-forth to each other and the same person was selling the cards. - again common sense comes into play. So although you think my "request " is unrealistic, the financial crimes enforcement network would disagree - Again these transactions were below the $10,000 per PERSON celling, so this would be outside of their area of interest and is irrelevant. One question you did answer was how the cards were purchased..CASH. So just how did your parents get $22,000 in cash(14K for Lowes, and 8K for Target)? Do they just keep that amount lying around as "petty cash"? Did they withdraw it from a bank? If it's the former, perhaps you should be a bit more protective of your parent's finances. If it is the later, where is your Report on the bank that apparently let an elderly couple withdraw over $20,000 in CASH?

Answer- Yes it was withdrawn from the bank and we had the same question. Trust me a report has been filed with the bank and we are also pursuing that. It’s ridiculous that the bank allowed them to leave with $22,000 in cash. As you can see it’s not just one establishment that let them down it’s Manny and it’s ridiculous. So again what do the receipts show? How many transactions? How many Gift Cards per transaction? How much per gift card? Answer - well Lowe’s sold 28 cards for $500 each. In my opinion multiple transactions were necessary due to the amount being sold. Some sales were $4,000 at a time and others were lower.(minimum sale $2,000)

There are clearly limits to what can be loaded onto a card and each sales transaction. I don’t think the spirit of the rule is to provide Multiple transactions to avoid following the rule And again..what exactly did your parents think they were getting for $22,000 and what did they tell you the reason was that they kept going back for multiple transactions? Answer- they thought they were facing jail time and the possibility of losing all of their money for "supposedly " illegal things found on their computer. Unfortunately the scammers were able to provide a link that was clicked and they showed my parents things that were supposedly on their computer- all part of the scam and false of course. The cards were to be held as "security” and once the illegal items were found to be erroneous, the money would be put back into their bank account.

Mind you this was a call that lasted nearly 5 1/2 hours. If they hung up the person would call them back and keep them on the line again creating fear and anxiety. Again the victim should not be blamed, the scammer is in control. I am simply saying that several places perpetuated the scam by not asking appropriate questions and stopping transactions. I hope I’ve answered all of your questions. Thanks for your concern.

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#9 Consumer Comment

You are ignoring the questions

AUTHOR: Robert - (United States)

POSTED: Monday, March 22, 2021

You failed to answer some of the most important questions, likely due to the fact you are realizing the narrative you are trying to put forward has some issues.

Purchases were all cash - transactions with same cashier - 1 hour 40 minutes of buying, running to car to give numbers then going back in and buying more? Manager had to come to checkout stand each time to process an override ( I’m sure due to the dollar amount spent)

- You can't be sure about anything about the transaction. You are relying on your parents to tell the story of the day. The same parents you are saying are not capible of making their own decisions and need to have someone watch over them.

You keep bringing up FINCen but fail to realize that this has no bearing and is irrelevant.

FINCen also states that retailers are obligated under the BSA rules to file reports on the receipt of currency in excess of $10,000 in the course of engaging in trade or business.

- Please provide a specific link to this statement. 

They also state that retailers should have policies in place to prevent sales of over $10,000 enclosed loop access to a single person in a single day.

- Preventing sales of more than $10,000 to a single person per day?  Again please provide the exact statement where this is mentioned.  Not only is it not logical, as you apparently haven't bought new appliances, electronics, furniture, home improvement, jewelry, or even cars in the last few decades. Where a $10,000 sale can be quite common.

But even if there was such a restriction you do realize there is one major flaw.  This wasn't a single person. This was BOTH of your parents.  So there were 2 people buying a total of $14,000 in Gift Cards from one store or only $7,000 per person, which is under this arbitrary limit you are wanting.

So although you think my "request " is unrealistic, the financial crimes enforcement network would disagree
- Again these transactions were below the $10,000 per PERSON celling, so this would be outside of their area of interest and is irrelevant.


One question you did answer was how the cards were purchased..CASH. So just how did your parents get $22,000 in cash(14K for Lowes, and 8K for Target)? Do they just keep that amount lying around as "petty cash"? Did they withdraw it from a bank? If it's the former, perhaps you should be a bit more protective of your parent's finances. If it is the later, where is your Report on the bank that apparently let an elderly couple withdraw over $20,000 in CASH?

So again what do the receipts show?  How many transactions?  How many Gift Cards per transaction?  How much per gift card?

And again..what exactly did your parents think they were getting for $22,000 and what did they tell you the reason was that they kept going back for multiple transactions?

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#8 Author of original report

Not Caretakers - ok but......

AUTHOR: Tammy - (United States)

POSTED: Sunday, March 21, 2021

 Thank you so much for your well thought out and expertly articulated response. I’m not asking that retailers be "caretakers", I am asking that they follow rules. A rule is a principal or regulation governing conduct, action and procedure. So what you neglected to identify in your scenarios is that a retailer would have to follow rules. For example the person buying the vodka would be asked for identification to determine if they were old enough to purchase the spirit.

If identification was not requested and the person purchasing the vodka was not of legal age there would be consequences for the retailer. In your car purchasing scenario the dealership would, as part of the sales transaction, require proof of insurance and proof of a valid drivers license, before letting the customer leave the lot. Of course the dealership has no say over who you let drive your car but there are guidelines in place at the dealership in the purchase transaction. So you can clearly see that there are rules and guidelines that must be followed as part of a sales transaction.

I’m not asking that retailers be caretakers, I am asking that they use common sense when applying rules. In the case of gift card sales, retailers clearly understand the threat of fraud. Somehow they are neglecting to follow rules and provide actions or procedures that would prevent such Egregious sales.

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#7 Author of original report

Hiring dopes?

AUTHOR: Tammy - (United States)

POSTED: Sunday, March 21, 2021

 I’m not responsible for the hiring or training of these employees that is the business responsibility but thanks for the constructive comment. You don’t think anyone would fall for this but thousands of people unfortunately do. As for the relationship with my parents I think the fact I’m working to get them through this speaks for itself. I hope your family never has to experience something like this.

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#6 General Comment

A few questions

AUTHOR: John - (United States)

POSTED: Sunday, March 21, 2021

"who would sell people $14,000 in gift cards?"  A 19 year old High School educated dope with no practical life experience- in other words, the kind of person these stores hire.

I feel badly for your parents, but there's only so much any store can do to prevent fraud if people aren't willing to use their OWN common sense.  My mother would never fall for this because she has regular contact with her kids and is always willing to reach out to ask for help.  Why didn't your parents to this?  How often do you talk to them?

I wonder how much of this has to do with your ducking responsibility for neglecting your parents? 

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#5 Consumer Comment

Merchants Are Not Caretakers

AUTHOR: coast - (United States)

POSTED: Sunday, March 21, 2021

So, on each transaction you expect merchants to hold their customers hand and instruct them on basic awareness.

'Enjoy those strawberries Mrs. Smith and don't give them to the vagrants in the parking lot.'

'Have a nice day Mr. Jones and don't share that vodka with the wino standing at the curb.'

'Have a nice afternoon Betty and don't let strangers drive that new car.'

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#4 Consumer Comment

Misdirected and Unrealistic

AUTHOR: Robert - (United States)

POSTED: Sunday, March 21, 2021

While I am sorry for your parents, your anger is misdirected. The real people you need to be upset at are the scammers. Regardless of the amount you are putting a "responsibility" on companies for something that is not really their responsibility.

I’m looking for it’s business accountability for perpetuating the fraud with such poor judgment.
- No you are looking for them to say they were responsible so you can go after them for the $22,000 in total.

You are assuming your parents were in such a state that if someone told them it was a scam they would have stopped. You can't guarantee that. These scams can be very convincing and will explain away these warnings. You can not assume a sign or warning will stop someone. As an example, WesternUnion Moneygrams is another common scam where scammers ask people to send money. While there are warnings at each of the locaions, and on the actual Monegram forms....people still fall for the scam.

There are scams that only ask for a couple of hundred dollars in Gift Cards. You are saying that stores are now responsible to grill each and every Gift Card purchase to make sure that they are not being scammed. This isn't going to happen. Of course, you are saying "But..But...But..this was $14,000". Okay so at what dollar amount should a store be required to interrogate a customer? Whatever amount you give, you are giving because of YOUR experience. Had the scammers only asked for $500 in Gift cards you would be here still saying that the stores should have stopped your parents.

The scammers would just adjust they will say. For example, instead of saying send them a $2000 Gift Card, they would say go to 2 stores and buy 2 $500 gift cards from each store. It is a never-ending game, where the scammers will always be 1 step ahead of any regulation, and in the end, will only be beaten by common sense on the part of the CONSUMER.

I am however curious, just how did the stores "Override" these supposed limits? How did your parents purchase these cards?  Cash? Check? Credit Card? How many cards did they buy? How much was on each card? Was it all in one Transaction?  Don't ask your parents to tell you this information...look at what the receipts say?

Why did your parents do this? What were they going to get for the $22,000?

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#3 Author of original report

Unrealistic -

AUTHOR: Tammy - (United States)

POSTED: Saturday, March 20, 2021

 Purchases were all cash - transactions with same cashier - 1 hour 40 minutes of buying, running to car to give numbers then going back in and buying more? Manager had to come to checkout stand each time to process an override ( I’m sure due to the dollar amount spent) and I’m sure the IRS might have something to say about $10k cash purchase with no reporting?? I can’t imagine how none of this raised any red flags?? True, they could have sold $500 worth and my parents could have gone elsewhere to buy more- but that didn’t happen. If that were the case, I wouldn’t be on this site complaining about Lowe’s.

FINCen suggests that selling prepaid access in amounts greater than $10k pose inherent money laundering risks. And if a retailer sells prepaid access in an amount greater than 10,000 it requires them to maintain an anti-money laundering program, report suspicious activity and collect customer identifying information- none of this was done. FINCen also states that retailers are obligated under the BSA rules to file reports on the receipt of currency in excess of $10,000 in the course of engaging in trade or business. However the sale of prepaid access in an amount greater than $10,000 should automatically raise red flags with a retailer, regardless of whether the customer makes the purchase in cash or some other form of payment. They also state that retailers should have policies in place to prevent sales over $10,000 enclosed loop access to a single person in a single day. So although you think my "request " is unrealistic, the financial crimes enforcement network would disagree.

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#2 Author of original report

Not a Scapegoat - common sense business practices

AUTHOR: Tammy - (United States)

POSTED: Saturday, March 20, 2021

 Who in their right mind would sell 80 year old people $14,000 worth of gift cards without warning of fraud? It’s just bad business and poor training- not to mention a complete lack of ethics! They write about fraud on their websites yet employees override systems and keep the sales going. It’s not a scapegoat I’m looking for it’s business accountability for perpetuating the fraud with such poor judgment.

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#1 Consumer Comment

You're Looking for a Scapegoat

AUTHOR: coast - (United States)

POSTED: Saturday, March 20, 2021

In the gift card fraud prevention section of Lowe's web site they state, "Under no circumstances should you provide a gift card number and PIN over the phone or email to an unknown person. The unknown person may try to trick you into buying gift cards and giving them the cards’ account numbers and PINs, which they may then try to use without your knowledge. Never share gift card account numbers or PINs from the back of the card with someone you don’t know."

The Target website states, "If someone claims that you should pay them in Target GiftCards, please report it at ftccomplaintassistant.gov."

Nowhere do either of these retailers state or imply that they will accept responsibility for loss due to fraud or scam. The retailers cannot be expected to protect people from themselves.

If retailers were liable for such a loss then anyone could purchase a gift card, then give their friend the card number and then claim fraud. That would provide an easy trail to double-dipping. It would put the entire gift card industry out of business.

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