A post office employee's quick intervention prevented a significant financial loss to a customer.
With the rise of the internet, online scams have become an everyday thing. If we are not vigilant, people can exploit us, stating legitimate concerns to extort money from us. People who are not very well-versed with technology or how these scams work are more vulnerable to losing their hard-earned money quickly. A postal employee in Scotland heroically intervened in the nick of time to prevent a vulnerable older person from falling victim to such a scam. Had the worker not intervened, the senior would have sent the scammer a hefty sum of over £3000 (approximately $3800) through the mail. The fraudsters contacted the woman on the premise that they were from her bank and that it was regarding "unusual activity on her account."
They went on to suggest a course of action that involved withdrawing all her money from the account and sending it to an address provided by them, so they could "deposit it into a new bank account." When the old lady visited the Paisley Post Office on August 2, the employee, Najma Mohammad, observed that she appeared visibly distressed. Since the woman was a frequent visitor at the establishment, Najma noticed her unease and inquired about the contents of the package that she was sending. Being extremely uncomfortable with the entire incident, the lady confessed that it was a sum of £3000, which she had withdrawn from her bank at the instruction of the scammers.
Upon hearing everything, Najma quickly recognized the fraudulent nature of it all. She told the lady that it was likely a scam and asked her to inquire at her bank. While the old lady inquired at her bank, the scammers ended up calling her again. This time Nagma picked up the call and hearing her voice on the call, the scammers quickly cut the call before she could say anything.
Detailing the whole incident in a Facebook post, the post office said, "The bank confirmed that no such call had or would ever have been made demanding money." The post went on to highlight the need to educate elderly individuals and older family members about these fraudulent practices. Doing so can prevent them from falling into such traps quickly.
According to a press release from the Federal Trade Commission, consumers lost approximately $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022, an annual increase of 30 percent from the previous year. People reported losing their money primarily to investment scams—roughly $3.8 billion—more than any of the other methods in 2022. A worrying observation is that this amount is double what was reported lost in 2021. The report highlighted the second-highest loss coming from imposter scams, with losses of around $2.6 billion. Imposter scams involve incidents where scammers call, text or email people on the grounds that they are someone in a position of authority, like in the case of this elderly woman.