Cecil Rodgers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was excited to spend Christmas with his family. However, the Christmas spirit was dampened when Rodgers received a troubling phone call from his eldest grandson—or rather, someone who claimed to be him.
The person on the other end of the call said he had been in a car crash, and needed help.
“A voice comes on and says, ‘Papaw, this is your oldest grandson. I’m in trouble,’” Rodgers told WCPO.
“He said, ‘I hit a woman’s car and she was seven months pregnant. And they charged me with drunken driving and I’m in jail.’”
His lawyer then came on the phone, telling Rodgers, “I’m going to try to get him out so he can drive home.”
He instructed Rodgers to send $2,300 through direct store-to-store money transfer, to pay for his grandson’s bail.
The so-called “lawyer” told Rodgers to go to the local Walmart and transfer the money to another Walmart in Bel Air, Maryland.
Concerned for his grandson, Rodgers withdrew $2,300 from his bank and went to the Walmart as instructed.
Thankfully, Audrella Taylor just so happened to be the clerk managing Rodgers’ transaction.
When Rodgers mentioned his situation to Taylor, an experienced employee who had been working at the store for five years, alarm bells immediately went off in her head.
“He said something about somebody was locked up in jail, he got a call and he needed to send $2,300,” Taylor said.
“I said, ‘I am going to refuse the sender. I’m not going to let you send that money. I think you are being scammed.'”
Sensing something was not quite right, Taylor urged Rodgers to call his family first, to check whether any of them had heard about the accident.
Just as Taylor suspected—they had not. Rodgers’ grandson was safe at college.
The Walmart store manager, Dominic Gross, praised Taylor for her quick thinking.
“We are very happy with Audrella and all our customer service associates who help in that manner,” he said. Additionally, he mentioned they will now start training cashiers to recognize if someone is possibly being scammed.
Rodgers, too, thanks Taylor for her help.
“I don’t have much,” he said.
Millions of seniors have been victims of financial fraud. Share this article to spread awareness, and make sure to warn the elderly in your life.