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Walgreens Called the Cops Because Someone was Buying Gift Cards


I am a Citi TYP card holder and have been churning GCs since I got it. My normal "run" is 4 drug stores and one grocery store. I usually walk away with about 7K in GCs each run. This past Thursday however, went very different. Here is the series of events.

#1: Stopped at the grocery store. Picked up $1500 in GCs.

#2: Stopped at Walgreens and bought one $500 PayPal MyCash card.

#3: Stopped at Rite Aid and bought one $500 Vanilla Visa.

#4: Was pulling into Rite Aid #2 and was pulled over. Turns out Walgreens called the police on me for suspicious activity. The police officer questioned me about why I was stopping at all the drug stores and why I was buying so many GCs. I was honest with him and he checked my CC that I used with my ID to make sure they matched. After everything checked out, he was puzzled on why I was stopped in the first place, but said he had to keep me until the detective arrived to talk to me. When the detective arrived (with the K9 unit as well), he explained all the bad things GCs can be used for (which I already knew) and that is why I was stopped. He said he had called the Secret Service to confirm my identity and that everything checked out. After about 30 minutes of being questioned, I was on my way and told I can continue doing what I do, as it is not illegal.

I visit this particular Walgreens about 5 times a month and buy about $3000 in gift cards a month from there. Why wouldn't they say anything to me in person? Why do they make a store limit on gift cards if they are going to call the police even if you stay under the limit?


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As a former employee

at Walgreens, part of their training is regarding gift cards and money cards. It has to do with money-laundering. The employee and manager were only doing their jobs. If you want to avoid the radar, scale it back A LOT!

Huh? Citi TYP card...churning GCs?

None of this makes any sense to me.

Yeah, what the hell was he doing exactly again?

Why does someone buy so many gift cards so frequently and what in the world does that have to do with CitiBank?

Rewards $$$

Sounds like this person was buying gift cards for stuff he was going to spend on anyway to accumulate rewards cash from his credit card. Many credit cards give 1% to 5% "rewards" cash back for all purchases. So $3000 in gift cards = $30 to $150 rewards cash for "free."

To me, sounds like an awful lot of work, time and gasoline for a few bucks, unless it's more than 1% cash back. As Napoleon Dynamite said, "I could make that much money in five seconds!"

Just because this person's little scheme got him harassed isn't going to make me boycott Walgreens. I don't like shopping at Walgreens anyway. The Walgreens in my neck of the woods don't even sell beer!

A great way to treat your customers

let's see.. the more the customer buys, the worse he is treated?

Yeah, that makes sense.

meekandmild's picture

time to boycott walgreen corporate


You boycott over rumors like this?

Who knows if it's even true.

It takes more for me to boycott.


"Why wouldn't they say anything to me in person? Why do they make a store limit on gift cards if they are going to call the police even if you stay under the limit?" Simple, we live in NAZI America, and everyone is told to "call an adult" instead of dealing with things themselves.

Andrew Napolitano for President 2016!

"Patriotism should come from loving thy neighbor, not from worshiping Graven images." - ironman77

LittleWing's picture

Read about InfraGard

(This is from 2008. I'm sure there are many more members now.)

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.

If Wars Can Be Started by Lies, They Can Be Stopped By Truth.

nice try

but you live in Judeo-bolshevik JewSA.
AIPAC is running the show, and Bernanke sure isn't a german.


Ich bin ein Juden... neo-nazi pustule!

(No anonymous downvotes!)

It is possible (though just barely) to be evil and non-jewish also, isn't it?
Murray Rothbard and Walter Block and Isaac Asimov and Alyssa Zinovyevna sure ain't Zionista (or bolsheviks, for that matter)!

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
to be continued

You Judeophobes always have

You Judeophobes always have to bring up genetics, don't you? I was referring to the system of governance in National Socialist Germany, not German genetic coding, but thank you for the bigotry lesson.

Andrew Napolitano for President 2016!

"Patriotism should come from loving thy neighbor, not from worshiping Graven images." - ironman77

Someone please explain this acronym

"Citi TYP"

Also, I think this guy would do better if he simply mined Bitcoins. Easier and more profitable.

How come

when stuff like this happens, nobody says "who" did it. We need to start outing the names of these people. Like who called the cops? Walgreen its self didn't. Some Commie did. So put there name out. Same with all the teachers and all the other crap that goes on. Put the name out. If we start doing that, maybe these people will stop snitching on one another.

Thank you.

We need to stop showing quarter to the enemy.

Andrew Napolitano for President 2016!

"Patriotism should come from loving thy neighbor, not from worshiping Graven images." - ironman77


Let's STOP concealing our contempt for the contemptible.

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
to be continued

Anyone know where I can get some Circuit City gift cards?

I'm saving mine for a laser disc player...

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

With my tin foil hat on

I think its all part of a plan to harass and criminalize anyone who prosperous, and has the temerity to spend money on themselves or others,instead of giving it all to the state to be distributed for greater good of the People, *Cough*cough*.

After all, the only true equality can be achieved if all of us are in poverty,living off the rationed dole from our fearless leaders, to each according to his needs.

Of course said leaders who labor so earnestly for our benefit will be excused to have a "few" luxuries as they labor tirelessly on our behalf to guide us into a future utopia.

Man, I am getting too hard core, aren't I?

Conscience does not exist if not exercised

"No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up!
---Lily Tomlin

Should not have consented to the police interrogation.

I hope more individuals will train themselves on how to properly interact with the police, otherwise we just continue to enable them in their abuses of our rights.

Has a crime been committed? Am I being investigated in connection to a crime that has been committed? What reasonable suspicion do you have that leads you to believe I have committed a crime? Do you have a search warrant? Am I being detained? Am I free to go?

Stop giving consent to illegal stops and arrest. If you are not free to go, you are under arrest.

How does it make any sense to stand by the side of the road to prove your innocence in the absence of a crime??

He is racking up reward points

By maxing out his credit card. Probably selling the gift cards for cash to pay off citi card.

Why not just deal in cash?

This seems like a way to complicate a person's life. I pay for everything in cash if I don't need a record for it. Way less book keeping.

This may seem really stupid but

what is this practice this person is involved in?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I'm just well-informed

Right or wrong, it's on you...

...those are financial instruments and $3000 triggers a SAR

Is it constitutional? No. But it *is*. You can ignore it, but it doesn't go away.

The cops get called for all kinds of nothing situations

You have experienced one. Getting pulled over and questioned and sent on your way isn't much more than a simple inconvenience.
What I'm more curious about is what do you do with all the gift cards? How do you pay off the cc? With gift cards? Aren't there fees that eat away gift card value? Please explain in more detail.

I don't understand

why did you buy the gift cards? What's the point? Why not just buy things with credit cars, checks, or cash? Why go through this extra step? What am I missing?

Seems like a case of due diligence

Seems like a case of due diligence on the part of the retailer.

The question the retailer asks is this: "Why would anyone buy so many gift cards with such regularity?"

Given that credit card companies may make the retailer responsible for unauthorized credit card purchases, this seems like an instance where the store manager wanted to cover themselves and not have their employer holding the bag for a pattern of potentially shady transactions.

Having worked in retail once before, sometimes the retailers do not want to confront potential scammers directly for fear of being seen as harassment and (nowadays) subject of a discrimination lawsuit. By calling the police with a pattern of odd behavior (compared to their usual customers), the retailer can show that they have acted with due diligence in case some party wished to pin liability on them for something.

Of course not justifying police detainment, just shedding light to an instance where retailers might call the police. Similar to the recent case of a coin shop where someone compromised another's bank account and wired the money the shop, seemingly legitimately. Due diligence worked out in that case for sure.

You make a fair point...

...but I don't think most people here are going to look at it that way.

As big a critic as I often am of cops, there are plenty who visibly (and often vocally) do NOT enjoy being called to investigate every trivial thing a 'concerned citizen' comes across.

Of course, none of this changes the fact that almost everything one does gets reported nowadays, cops or no. A nation of overly paranoid tattletales.

A signature used to be here!

Grand Larceny

I wouldn't call this particular case trivial. Given the description of the case and the claim that this person was buying $7,000 worth of gift cards each time, we are talking about over $10K in potential theft.

Theft of what?

What if they were used to purchase on the black market?

What if they were for the orphanage?

Either way it's not government business.

Free includes debt-free!