Pat Drake and Mack Paul have owned the UPS Store in New Bern for 25 years. They’re also very involved as members of the Tryon Civitan Club and truly care about our community. You may have heard they’ve recently transferred ownership to the new owners, Jim and Middleton Hinckley.
As they transition into retirement, Pat wants to make the community aware of a very serious scam targeting our senior population that they’ve never seen before:
“Over the last 8 weeks, we’ve had 6 elderly women trying to send large amounts of cash via UPS and we’re concerned about the recent increase. In all of the years we’ve had our business; if we saw one or two in a year that was a lot. All of these ladies were Grandmas and had gotten a phone call from someone claiming to be a lawyer representing their grandchild. Usually saying that their grandchild was in trouble (DUI, car accident, etc.).
The caller would then advise that they could “fix” everything for a price – in cash, usually several thousand dollars that had to be sent overnight. Their instructions were to put the cash in a padded envelope and tell us (UPS) that they were shipping legal documents, magazines, even books when we ask what the contents of the package are (which is required by UPS for us to do). UPS prohibits shipping any amount of cash; the scammers know this.
They’ll put the grandchild on the phone, sounding distressed – saying please don’t call my Mom/Dad. One of these Grandma’s, trying to send $10,000 in cash, shared with me that when she asked her Grandson why his voice sounded different her fake grandson said his nose had been broken in the car accident. The scammer will get back on the phone and ask for the tracking number of the package. They then call UPS and request it be held at the local UPS distribution center for them to pick up. Then they show up with a fake ID and the cash is gone.
We try our best to assess the situation when a customer comes in under these circumstances. “It can be quite the challenge since they’re under duress and will blatantly lie to us as to the contents. They believe their Grandchild’s in trouble. By asking probing questions and even mentioning scams, we did not allow any of the 6 Grandmas to ship cash through our store. Unfortunately, that does not mean they didn’t try to ship it through someone else.
Our concern again is the increase we’re seeing of these scams.” – Pat Drake
Please let us know if this scam has affected you or a loved one. We are interested in finding out how may people have been contacted and/or deceived by this scam as we will be following up with local law enforcement.
For more information about scams targeting Seniors living in North Carolina visit NC DOJ website.
Please give me a call at 252-259-6853 or send me an email.