Courier service prevents grandparents from losing thousands of dollars in phone scam

SUNSET HILLS, MO - A common phone scam nearly costs a Sunset Hills couple thousands of dollars. But a quick-thinking local courier service stopped the crime from happening.

Nick Kirkou, owner of Ontime Express Courier and Delivery said he had a feeling, that the Monday morning call his dispatcher took from a guy about a package delivery didn’t sound right.

“When we looked up the address it comes up in the Bronx at an apartment building and it was supposed to be going to a business” Kirkou explained.

He said the man on the phone was calling from a Canadian area code.

The dispatcher followed orders and had a driver pick up the package from an address in Sunset Hills which was then to be delivered to FedEx. But the company’s suspicion got them to alert police.

“I went home and it was bothering me,” Kirkou went on to say, “and then I got a phone call from Sunset Hills Police Department asking if I could come up there and that the envelope was a scam.”

The envelope contained about $15,000 in cash belonging to a senior citizen couple.

The grandparents had fallen for what police commonly refer to as the ‘Grandparent Scam.’

“The victim received an urgent call from an individual purporting to be a public defender out of New York and gave them a long convoluted story about their grandson being involved in an accident,” explained Sergeant Robbie Hagen.

Hagen said the couple explained that they even talked with someone who sounded like their grandson claiming he needs a substantial amount of money.

It turned out that the couple has a grandson who lives in New York.

“People don’t realize how much information is out there on the internet about all of us and what information these people are able to glean about our ages and who we are associated with and our family members,” said Hagen.

“You’ve gotta watch out for your neighbors and your family,” said Kirkou, “as a business, we have that moral obligation too and we are in the business to make money but that’s not the way we want to earn it.”

Police said that these scams are becoming more and more common and can happen to anyone.

For information on prevention and education visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Other information can also be found on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website.