Grocery store employee goes above and beyond to halt scam - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Grocery store employee's persistence saves elderly woman from scam

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

A quick-thinking grocery store employee saved an elderly Kansas woman from losing $1,900 to a scam.

An Overland Park Hy-Vee employee saw through the scam and persuaded the woman not to send money to a con artist.

"When I heard her story I thought, ‘No way, this is too familiar,'" Austin Ramirez said.

Ramirez was working the customer service desk at the Hy-Vee at 135th Street and Antioch Road when an 88-year-old woman came in. She said she needed to send $1,900 to the Philippines because her grandson had been in some kind of an accident.

"I started asking questions like, ‘Ma'am, I don't want to be rude, but are you sure? Do you know your grandson is overseas?' She said, ‘Well I think so,'" Ramirez recalled. 

He remembered less than a month ago another elderly man came in with a similar story about sending money overseas to a grandson in trouble.

Ramirez stopped that man from sending the money until he knew for sure it was his grandson. And once again, Ramirez kept inquiring.

"He didn't tell you his name?" Ramirez asked the woman.

She then recounted her conversation with the man on the other end of the phone: "No, he just said,‘I'm your oldest grandson.' And she's like, ‘You're definitely not my oldest grandson - I know what my oldest grandson sounds like.'"

"I said, ‘Well ma'am, I'm not sending this money,'" Ramirez finally told the elderly woman.

Once Ramirez explained the previous situation and pointed out the red flags, the woman agreed that canceling the transfer was best. Instead, she called police.

"She was very thankful," Ramirez said.

He was just glad he could help.

"We do more than grocery at Hy-Vee. We will take care of you beyond that. We got you," he said with a warm smile.

Ramirez said he would have regretted not stepping in and hopes sharing this story prevents others from falling victim to a similar sort of scam in the future.

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