The digital age has brought with it a lot of things – some good, some not so good.
One thing that’s for sure is that it’s increased the amount of scams out there. With it now being so easy to connect and talk to strangers, be that online or over the phone, we’re more susceptible than ever to phoney traps created to take our hard-earned money.
A lot of scammers choose elderly people as their targets, not only because in general they’re more trusting and less savvy, but because they can sometimes be out of touch with the sorts of things that younger people can usually spot from a mile away.
Sadly, loving grandfather Cecil Rodgers was so nearly another victim.
He received a phone call from a man pretending to be his grandson. He told him that he’d been involved in a terrible car crash and needed some financial help. His ‘attorney’ then got on the phone and demanded Cecil send money.
Panic-stricken, Cecil was about to do just that … before lady luck shone on him with all her light.
Cecil Rodgers, an elderly man from Cincinnati, Ohio, was looking forward to spending time with his family, including his adult grandchildren, at his Elmwood Place home.
However, he got an unnerving call. On the other end of the line was Rodgers’ eldest grandson.
“A voice comes on and says, ‘Papaw, this is your oldest grandson. I’m in trouble,’” Rodgers recalled.
“He said, ‘I hit a woman’s car and she was seven months pregnant. And they charged me with drunken driving and I’m in jail,’”
After that, a lawyer got on the phone.
To help his grandson, Cecil was told he should go to Walmart and transfer $2,300 of his own money to another store. The lawyer said he would pick up the money and use it to post the grandson’s bail in order to get him out.
He hurried to his bank, and then to his local Walmart to send the money without delay.
The lawyer assured Cecil Rodgers that everything would be okay once he got the money, so the caring grandfather wasted no time.
As he was so worried for his grandson, he didn’t even hesitate to question the phone call – all he thought about was sending the cash.
Once in Walmart, Cecil got into Audrella Taylor’s line. When he came face to face with Audrella, he thought that she would just do her job.
The last thing Cecil expected was to deal with a cashier who stubborn stood in his way and declined the transaction.
Audrella asked exactly why he was sending that amount of money.
Cecil Rodgers told her the truth and opened up to Audrella about his grandson’s emergency. The cashier realised instantly that something was not right.
Having worked at Walmart for the past five years, Audrella has seen a lot of things come to pass. She had a hunch that Cecil was about to make an error, and didn’t want to see him fall victim to fraud. Instead, she took action.
“He said something about somebody was locked up in jail. He got a call, and he needed to send $2,000. I said, ‘I am going to refuse the sender. I’m not going to let you send that money. I think you are being scammed.’”
Audrella went on to ask if any of Cecil’s other family members had been contacted by either the grandson or his ‘lawyer’.
She grew increasingly alarmed when Cecil admitted that they hadn’t.
The biggest red flag for Audrella was that she knew in the event of a bad accident the first person who should have been approached was the grandson’s mother.
On his part, Cecil was confused as to why Audrella was questioning him – he still believed he was doing right by his grandson and didn’t want to delay.
He couldn’t fathom why someone would try and take his money in that way, and hadn’t even considered the idea that it wasn’t his son on the phone.
To make matters worse, the lawyer on the line had advised him not to tell anyone about the phone call, suggesting that if he did his grandson might end up in even more trouble.
But in the end, Cecil was convinced by Audrella and so didn’t send any money.
Audrella told Rodgers to hold off a minute, calm down, and go call his other family members. She believed he would find out that his grandson was fine, and sure enough, she was right.
Rodgers’ grandson was safe at college.
As it turned out, the voice on the phone wasn’t Rodgers’ grandson at all. And, the second person who took the line wasn’t a lawyer, either.
These were scammers who had perfected their craft of preying on the elderly in what’s become known as the “grandparent scam.”
However, thanks to a savvy cashier, he and his wallet were saved.
As for Audrella, she’s been praised by her manager – there would have been no way for Cecil to get his money back had he sent it.
Audrella’s manager has said he is very proud of her, whilst Cecil’s family are grateful for her intervention.
Rodgers says he doesn’t have much and that he is very grateful that the Walmart employee stepped in to intervene, saving him more than $2,000.
”We’re very proud of Audrella and all of our customer service associates that helped,” Manager Dominic Gross said, explaining that they now train cashiers on the warning signs that someone is being scammed, according to WCPO.
It’s very important for every family to talk with your elderly loved ones about these potential scams.
Encourage them not to ever feel pressured to transfer money or give up their banking account and other personal information over the phone or email.
Sadly, con artists and scammers often have an easy time swindle people out of their money, especially seniors.
Scammers prey on people who are trusting and easily rushed into action without question. Don’t let that be someone you care about.
There’s not always someone like Audrella who takes the time to save a target by gathering information to identify a scam before it occurs.
This story serves to not only praise Audrella for going above and beyond but also as a warning to others.
If you like this story then please share it to spread awareness and pay tribute to Audrella!