Store worker saves 85-year-old woman from phone scam, police say

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) – A quick-witted store clerk in Iowa saved an 85-year-old woman from a costly phone scam.

Winterset Police Department Chief Ken Burk said the woman was a customer at a Dollar General Store. She came in on Monday to buy a $500 gift card, but she was on the phone during her visit and it seemed suspicious.

Turns out there was a scammer on the other end of the line.

“It was a typical scam that we hear too often,” Burk said. “They actually asked her not to tell anyone, not to let them know she was on the phone.”

Store manager Allysa Taylor said the woman looked worried and checked on her.

“I asked her if it was for someone on the phone and she whispered yes. And I said do you know that person, and she said no, but I’m not supposed to tell you that,” he said. Taylor said.

Police said the woman had been on the phone with the scammer for two hours. He told her she needed to send him $500 to collect a $2.5 million prize.

Taylor picked up the client’s phone and hung up.

Burk said he eventually called the scammer himself and answered.

“I said to him, ‘You’re scamming old people. Doesn’t that sound shitty? “Said Burk.

According to Burk, the scammer responded by saying that the woman was going to die with her money and that he needed the woman’s money to build a house and take care of her family.

“Unbelievable that they say something like that and can be so cold and callous to people losing their hard-earned money,” Burk said.

The police chief praised Taylor for his quick thinking.

“She did a great thing. She’s definitely a hero to us,” Burk said.

Taylor said it was part of the job.

“It finally turned out that my training was necessary. And I’m grateful that I was able to help her,” Taylor said.

Police say the caller was likely overseas and you should never give money to someone who wants you to pay to collect an alleged prize.

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