Supermarket Employee Shuts Down Senior Scam

(CBS) – A Jewel Osco employee in Palos Park intervenes in the nick of time, saving an 85-year-old man from giving scammers thousands of dollars.

CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos reports.

Jan Gallagher is long-timer at Jewel Osco. So, when an 85-year-old man came in for a $2,400 MoneyGram Tuesday, she immediately caught on to red flag No. 1.

“His granddaughter had been jailed, and he needed to send money because she was in an accident,” Gallagher says, recalling the story the man told her.

He claimed the granddaughter’s cell phone and purse had been confiscated and she wouldn’t be allowed to talk with him.

“I asked, ‘Did they tell you to come to Jewel Osco to get a MoneyGram?’ and he said, ‘Yes, they did,’” Gallagher says.

She called police, who were familiar with the scam.

“We’ve had it at our Jewel several times,” Palos Park Police Officer Bob Kotsianis says.

The grandparent scam has been around for years: Callers pretending to be grandkids in distress, needing attorneys’ fees or bail.

Kotsianis says the department deals with five to 10 victims a month.

He calls them master manipulators. Now, at least they have one person who has caught on.

Gallagher, who foiled the latest plot, says: “I don’t want anyone to lose their hard-earned money.”

Watch & Listen LIVE