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They wanted $29,500. It was a scam

A retail associate saved a customer from losing more money in a fake sweepstakes

Smiling woman wearing a postal uniform stands in front of a bank of PO Boxes
Gardner, MA, Retail Associate Subrena Simpson

Subrena Simpson sensed that something was off during a recent transaction with an older customer at the Gardner, MA, Post Office.

The man, who was on his phone when he walked in, told Simpson he needed an envelope to mail a check.

As the retail associate asked questions, the customer would then consult with the person on the other end of the call. That mysterious third party also wanted the customer to send the check overnight.

Uneasy about the transaction, Simpson voiced her concerns to the postmaster. They set the envelope aside and consulted with a postal inspector, who advised the postmaster to go to the local police department.

The postmaster called Simpson from the police station and told her not to mail the envelope.

The Postal Service employee called the customer and asked him to return to the Post Office, explaining that they needed to make a copy of the check because it was evidence of suspected mail fraud.

It was only after the envelope was opened that the scale of the fraud attempt became clear: The check inside was for $29,500.

The customer had been caught up in a sweepstakes scam that promised a $2.5 million jackpot in exchange for a few “fee” payments.

Unfortunately, the man had already paid the scammers $15,000, but Simpson’s sharp eye saved him from losing more money.

Employees featured in “Heroes” receive letters of commendation through the Postmaster General Heroes’ Program. The nomination form is available on Blue.