NORWOOD, Mass. - A Norwood store owner prevented a local grandfather from losing hundreds of dollars to a common scam targeting senior citizens.
The man who is in his late 80s entered Central Market with his daughter and began filling out paperwork for Western Union. Store owner Marcieli Pastorio quickly realized the two were distraught and in a hurry to wire someone money.
Once Pastorio began asking questions, the man told her someone identifying himself as a police sergeant called him, claiming his grandson had been arrested abroad and needed to have $890 wired to him.
“He was upset, because he was worried about his grandson who he thought was in the Dominican Republic and he needed to get to court,” Pastorio said. “So I asked him, ‘Can we find out if your grandson is actually in the Dominican Republic? Can we talk to him?’”
Pastorio helped the man and his daughter call a family member, who confirmed her suspicions: the call was a common “grandparents” scheme used to swindle senior citizens out of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars.
Pastorio called Norwood police, who credited the quick-thinking business owner with preventing a scam.
“This was a case of a merchant really being on the ball and being able to spot that there was something really amiss and knowing exactly what to do about it,” Norwood Police Chief William Brooks said. “She stopped the action, didn’t wire transfer the money, called the police, walked the family through it with us. And good outcome. The best part? The grandson really hadn’t been arrested in a foreign country, and they saved a thousand dollars.”
Pastorio, who pays careful attention to the training, paperwork and alerts Western Union provides, says she often has to advise customers of potential scams. She is glad Friday’s customers didn’t become victims.
“At the end, the daughter came to me and gave me a hug and said thank you so much,” Pastorio said. “But that’s just something I would want somebody to do for me.”
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