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Norwood Store Owner Helps Stop Grandparent Scam

NORWOOD (CBS) - At Central Market in Norwood, Marcieli Pastorio knows in rare cases, the customer is not always right. And when an upset elderly man asked for help to wire money Friday, she suspected something very wrong.

"I said 'OK, why are you sending the money? Somebody called and said they needed $890 for the grandson to go to court.' That's a red flag," Pastorio explained.

Before the transaction moved any further, she insisted two calls be made.

"She helped us and she actually facilitated a phone call to the grandson and of course the grandson is not in the Dominican Republic, he's here. He hadn't been arrested, he's fine," said Norwood Police Chief William Brooks. "It's nice there's a merchant on the ball, that figured it out."

Norwood scam
Norwood Police Chief William Brooks and Marcieli Pastorio (Image credit Juli McDonald/WBZ)

The relieved customer declined to be on camera. The chief says there's nothing to be ashamed of, these callers can be master manipulators.

"Some of them use technology that allows them to spoof a number. It looks like it's coming from a particular area code but it's actually coming from someplace else," Chief Brooks said.

It's not the first time Pastorio has warned a customer about fraud, and she doubts it'll be the last. It's that careful attention that keeps people coming back to Central Market.

"Everybody looks out for each other, which is a good thing," Pastorio said.

Whether a caller demands back taxes to the IRS, or ransom money for a loved one, a lot of the calls have an element of urgency. Chief Brooks said that's a red flag, and you should never hesitate to check with your local police department.

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