Post Office Worker Thwarts Telemarketing Scammer

Maureen Mahoney
Public Policy Fellow

Friday, March 25th, 2016
robocalls

Robocall and telemarketing scammers work round-the-clock to separate innocent consumers from their hard-earned money, costing consumers an estimated $350 million per year. But thanks to the efforts of one postal employee, this week a Nebraska woman was saved from a costly telemarketing scam.

KMTV of Belleview, Nebraska reports that a postal worker successfully intervened as a telemarketing scam victim tried to mail thousands of dollars in cash to a scammer.

Employee William Reynik grew concerned when the woman couldn’t clearly identify the intended recipient of the cash.

William initially talked her into purchasing a money order instead of sending cash. But when the woman returned later to change the recipient of the money order, he grew particularly suspicious. He insisted on calling the recipient on the phone. Realizing that the person on the other end of the line wasn’t legitimate, he convinced the woman to take her money to the bank.

Still, there are still far too many consumers that are targeted for scams, particularly over the phone. William pointed out: “My actions were just a drop in the bucket unfortunately, and I mean unfortunately in that way that a lot of people are scammed.”

Here at Consumers Union, we frequently hear about the telemarketers and robocalls that target innocent consumers, causing them and their loved ones considerable stress and anxiety. Jessica of Grover Beach, CA, says:

My 91 year old mother has an unlisted number and is on the do-not-call list, but she still receives several scam robo calls a week.  These usually claim she owes back taxes or un-paid credit card debt which she must pay right away or the police will show up on her doorstep, and she even had one that claimed her daughter was injured in a traffic accident and she needed to send money for her care.  As you can imagine, these cause her quite a bit of confusion, worry and stress until I can talk with her and convince her they are not true.   I’ve stressed repeatedly to never give anyone her bank information or credit card number over the phone, but I worry that one of these days she will.   We need to make it harder for these scammers to prey on our parents.”

We salute the efforts of heroes like Jessica and William in protecting others from scammers. We’re calling on the phone companies to be scam-fighting heroes too, by offering free, optional tools to block unwanted calls. Join our campaign to End Robocalls!

For more advice in dealing with some of the most common telemarketing and robocall scams, check out our posts on the IRS scam and the tech support scam.

 

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