From: Lieutenant Campbell
Case or Incident: #2023-02010041
On 02/01/2023, at about 2:27 p.m., the Juneau Police Department received a report from Kroger Inc., located in North Carolina, regarding a possible threat at the Juneau Fred Meyer store. Kroger Inc. reported that their customer service department received a call from an unknown male who was upset about a gift card, purchased at the Juneau Fred Meyer, which wasn't working. The caller wanted to return the gift card and when they were told that wasn't allowed, the caller threatened violence at Juneau Fred Meyer. During the call, the caller gave the Kroger Inc. customer service representative a false name. JPD responded to Fred Meyer to ensure the safety of everyone there and began investigating the threat. While JPD was at Fred Meyer, store employees received another call, believed to be the unknown caller, who again made a threat of violence at Juneau Fred Meyer.
During the investigation, JPD learned that a 70-year-old female Juneau resident had purchased a $500 gift card at Juneau Fred Meyer earlier in the day and sent the gift card numbers to an unknown male, whom she had been communicating with on the phone. The unknown male is believed to be the man who initially called Kroger Inc. and made the threat, or is associated with the man. For unknown reasons, the gift card didn't work, prompting the unknown male to contact Kroger Inc., which ended with the threat at Juneau Fred Meyer. The name the unknown caller provided to the Kroger Inc. customer service representative is believed to be the name of the 70-year-old female Juneau resident; due to the uniqueness of the name and a language barrier, the name was not recorded accurately by the customer service representative. This is believed to be part of a gift card scam and the 70-year-old female Juneau resident is a victim of fraud.
At about 6:21 p.m., JPD had completed the initial investigation into this report and was no longer at Fred Meyer. The reported threat was believed to be a hoax, possibly similar to the reports of "Swatting"; which is a term used to describe making hoax phone calls to report serious crimes to emergency services. JPD has been able to identify at least two Juneau residents who are believed to be victims of this gift card scam, which appears to have led to the loss of several thousands of dollars. This case is still under investigation.
If you have you have been the victim of a gift card scam, or another scam, you can file a report with JPD by calling the non-emergency number at (907) 586-0600.
The Federal Trade Commission offers the following advice on gift card scams, and how to protect yourself. Gift Card Scams | Consumer Advice
All factual allegations contained in this release are based upon preliminary investigation and are subject to change or clarification as the investigation continues. Any charges reported in this release are merely accusations and all persons named in this release are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.