Authorities say the 72-year-old went to the pharmacy in Clarkstown and tried to buy $3,000 worth of gift cards.
But just a day earlier, police had warned store employees about phone scams where older people are tricked into buying gift cards.
Rather than ring her up, the clerk called police.
"It's really important to protect them, especially when they're calling victims," a Clarkstown police officer said. "When they are so vulnerable to these scams, you know, it just hits home."
In this case, the woman had been contacted by someone claiming to be from Social Security who was threatening to cancel her credit card.
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