Rajbir "Raj" Singh, the owner of Roseville Cab in northern California, is being hailed as a hero for helping a 92-year-old woman from being scammed out of $25,000.
Singh picked up the woman at Sun City, a retirement community, and she said she was going to the bank to get $25,000 to settle a debt with the Internal Revenue Service.
"This sounded very suspicious to Raj so he suggested to the woman, this may be a scam," the Roseville Police Department said in a Facebook post.
But the woman didn't believe that Raj's suspicions were true. So he called the number of the man who was posing as an IRS agent and asked, "'Do you know this lady?" The man said he did not. "I knew something was wrong," Singh said.
Singh says the man on the other end of the line seemed nervous and, after repeated calls, blocked his number.
The woman still didn't believe Singh.
"Raj pleaded with the woman to reconsider so they agreed to stop by the Roseville Police Station to ask an officer," the police department said.
When the officer at the Police station explained the situation to the woman, she finally believed it was a scam.
"We love this story because several times throughout, Raj could have just taken his customer to her stop and not worried about her wellbeing," Roseville police said. "He took time from his day and had the great forethought to bring the almost-victim to the police station for an official response."
In a statement, the Roseville police said Singh deserved a "great citizen award."
"His quick thinking saved a senior citizen $25,000 and for that, we greatly appreciate his efforts," police said. The police officers later asked Singh to visit the station where he was awarded a $50 gift card for his efforts.
According to the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, government-impostor scams have reached the "highest levels we have on record." In the past five years, the FTC has received 1.3 million reports of government-impostor scams.
Six percent of those reported resulted in someone losing money.
The most popular form of government-impostor scammers claim to be from the Social Security Administration or the Internal revenue Services. The calls often sound like this:
"The reason you have received this phone call from our department is to inform you that there is a legal enforcement action filed on your Social Security number for fraudulent activity so before this matter goes to the state courthouse and before you get arrested if you need any information or have any questions kindly call us back at …"
Younger people are more likely to fall victim to these types of scams. However, those who are 80 and older report the highest average loss of around $2,700 per scam.
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