A local, watchful business owner stepped-in and saved an elderly man who was about to mail a large amount of cash to a scammer.
On Monday, Dec. 10, the owner of the UPS Store, at 401 S. Mt. Juliet Road, Myro Kuzman, contacted detectives after he felt an elderly man was about to fall victim to a scam attempt. The scammer, acting as an attorney from another state, contacted the victim by phone and stated that he needed to overnight mail $4,000 to bail a family member out of jail. The scammer also instructed the victim not to tell anyone about the money.
Detectives responded to the UPS Store and determined that it was, in fact, a scam. In this case, the scammer was using a common scam of faking an emergency situation to trick the victim into thinking that a loved one is in trouble. Scammers typically focus on the elderly, ask for the money to be sent immediately, and demand that it be kept quiet. In trying to legitimize their efforts, the scammers claim to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer. The scam can seem very real, and it is meant to tug at the heart of a possible victim.
“It takes everyone in a community to keep it safe and protected,” said Police Chief James Hambrick. “This is a fine example of a community looking after each other, and Mr. Kuzman should be applauded for his efforts. His direct efforts saved the victim from a losing large amount of cash.”
Detectives continue to investigate the origin of the caller in hopes of finding a suspect. Lieutenant Jason Brockman, criminal investigative division commander, visited Myro, the UPS Store owner, to thank him for his vigilance and care for the community.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends the following if anyone finds themselves receiving a similar scam call:
- Check it out before you act. Look up that friend or family’s phone number yourself. Call them or another family member to see what’s happening — even if the person who contacted you told you not to.
- Don’t pay. Don’t wire money, send a check, overnight a money order, or pay with a gift card or cash reload card. Anyone who demands payment in these ways is always, always, always a scammer. These payment methods are like giving cash — and nearly untraceable unless you act almost immediately.
- If you sent money to a family emergency scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (wire transfer service, bank, gift card company, or cash reload card company) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed, if possible.