A Bluffton Starbucks was scammed out of all of the money in the store Friday.
An employee at the coffee shop’s Tanger Outlets 2 location gave a little over $2,600 to someone claiming to be from the coffee shop’s corporate office, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report.
The employee told deputies she received a call on the store’s phone around 5 p.m. from a woman who said she worked for Starbucks, according to the report. The woman told the employee there was an investigation into allegations of embezzlement and that the district manager had been arrested. Because the store was short $4,000, the caller said, the employee was instructed to collect all of the money from the cash registers and the safe and close the store early.
The woman requested the phone number of another employee by name and told the first employee to instruct him to take the money from the store and wait for a call, according to the report. About an hour after the second employee left with the money, the first employee contacted the Sheriff’s Office because he wasn’t answering his phone.
The second employee returned to the store after another hour. He told deputies he had received a call from the alleged scammer, who, he said, instructed him to transfer $1,000 through a Walmart MoneyGram and exchange the rest for MoneyPak prepaid cards, according to the report. Both transactions went to an individual in Alabama. The employee said he also gave the scammer his date of birth and Social Security number.
The Starbucks district manager told deputies he had not, in fact, been arrested, according to the report. Deputies were able to confirm the money had been sent as described by the second employee.