$800 Walmart scam, among others, reported in Newberry County

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Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:32 PM EDT
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NEWBERRY, S.C. (WIS) - The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) confirmed an increase in digital scams and forgery throughout their jurisdiction.

On Wednesday, the NCSO told WIS that they’ve cataloged 29 scams and 1 forgery as of February. In comparison, a total of 56 combined cases were reported in 2022 and 58 combined cases in 2023, according to the NCSO.

“It’s really an easy crime to commit. Then you got to rely on the good nature of most human beings,” said Sheriff Lee Foster.

The longest-serving sheriff in the Midlands said most victims who come forward are elderly and vulnerable. His office receives anywhere from three to five reports of suspected scams daily.

Last Friday, a call for service came from 67-year-old Steve Bouknight of Newberry. According to the resident, he was scammed out of $800 across two Walmart gift cards.

“It was just money for groceries and things that I needed, household things. And being 68 years old and disabled, $800 is a lot,” said Bouknight.

According to a receipt dated March 3, 2020, two $400 gift cards were purchased for Bouknight from the only Walmart in Newberry, store #624 on Main Street.

Within an hour after being purchased in Newberry, both cards were reportedly used to buy diesel fuel over 530 miles away, at a Walmart gas station in Mobile, Alabama.

Bouknight told WIS he’s never been to Alabama and is appalled by Walmart’s lack of transparency.

“I don’t understand how it happened. I don’t understand how I could have the cards here in Newberry, South Carolina, and somebody gets diesel in Mobile, Alabama, nine hours away within an hour after the cards were bought. I don’t understand that,” concluded Bouknight.

Sheriff Foster said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is assisting in the Walmart investigation, among other scam and forgery cases in Newberry.

NCSO encourages anyone suspected to be a victim of fraud to call their office at 803-321-2211.

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