STOW — Police are praising a couple of employees at the Stow Target store for taking action that prevented an elderly couple from being scammed out of thousands of dollars.

The police department posted on its Facebook page Tuesday that the employees "saw the red flags" when the couple purchased more than $2,000 worth of gift cards after completing a phone call with someone while they were walking into the store.

Police said this was less than an hour after the couple had purchased $5,000 worth of gift cards at another Target store.

The employees called police to intervene and voided the purchases. Police said they determined through an investigation that the couple had nearly been victims of a scam.

Police Officer Bethany Childers said the scam involved a threat made against the couple, but they were never able to get details about it. Police called the couple’s daughter, said Childers, who intervened and convinced her parents they were being scammed.

Police say they encourage people and organizations to alert the local authorities to this type of suspicious activity.

"If you have any suspicion, you are probably correct," says the post. "Help us prevent further people from losing their hard earned money."

Common signs of a scam include:

• Demanding payment for "delinquent" accounts, IRS taxes and utilities by asking the victim to purchase gift cards for payment.

• Someone using such scare tactics as threatening jail time for the victim or a family member if payment is not made.

• A money request or phone call coming from someone the victim does not know or has never met in person.

• Something sounds too good to be true, such as winning the lottery, inheritance, or being offered a reward for a large sum of money.

• Being asked to buy something in advance by sending a wire transfer or being pressured to buy something quickly before the victim can discuss the matter with a family member.

• Being asked for personal information such as a Social Security number, bank account numbers, login IDs and passwords.

Stow residents are welcome to call the department at 330-689-5700 to speak with an officer about a scam.