Dispatcher stops money scam
published on 10/26/2010
The quick actions of Chouteau Dispatcher Amy Linam prevented an elderly couple from being the latest victim of a money scheme that, if successful, would’ve cost the couple several thousand dollars.
“I got a call from the wife,” Linam said. “She said her husband was on his way to Marvin’s to wire some money.”
The woman explained that they had received a letter notifying them of a lottery or sweepstakes they’d won. Also included was a check for over $4,000.
Like many of the mailed money scams, the letter included information on how to claim the remainder of the cash prize.
“It told them to cash the check and then wire $2,100 to them to cover service and handling fees. They could keep the rest,” Linam said. “Then the balance of his prize would be released.”
The wife suspected a rat, but couldn’t convince her husband. With the check cashed, he left home headed for Marvin’s to wire the money via Western Union.
“She told me to try and get to him before he wired the money,” Linam said. “She said, ‘He won’t listen to me, but maybe he’ll listen to you.’”
Linam immediately contacted Marvin’s. She explained the situation and asked if the man had already come and gone.
“They said he was standing right there,” she said. The Marvin’s employee explained the nature of the phone call to the man. “They convinced him that it was a scam and talked him out of wiring the money.”
Moments later, the 86- year-old man walked into the police station and asked for Amy.
“I didn’t know if he would be mad or not,” she said, smiling. “It was like being in trouble with my grandfather. I was afraid to look at him when I admitted that I was Amy.”
The man had dropped by to thank her for what she’d done.
“I called the bank. He still had all of the money, so he returned it all and didn’t lose a thing,” Linam said.
Cathy Chupp at RCB Bank said that when a check is cashed or even deposited, there is usually a five-day waiting period for collectability.
“If the customer is well-known or has a long standing account, sometimes that isn’t enforced as strongly as maybe it should be,” Chupp said.
What’s important to remember, she added, is that the account holder is responsible for those funds if they are spent and then the check is returned.
“If a check is cashed in good faith, and any funds are used, and subsequently the check is returned, the account holder is responsible for that money,” Chupp said.
Meanwhile, the age-old adage continues to ring loud. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Thanks to the quick thinking of Linam, this particular scam had one less victim.
“If that was my grandpa, I’d want someone to help them out,” she said.
Citizens are encouraged to check with their local police department or their bank and have things checked out before any action is taken.
Pryor Daily Times
October 21, 2010
Dispatcher stops money scam scheme
PRYOR — Susan Wagoner