One of the things we at Blue Ribbon Transportation pride ourselves in is our hiring of only the best of the best. Recently, we were, unwittingly, party to an attempted scam and we thought it would be worthwhile to share the story in order to alert people to how some transportation or share ride companies could end up complicit in a crime. This was recounted by our owner and CEO, Erv Helmuth:
“Last week we received a call from someone named Victor who asked us to pick up a package in Sarasota and deliver the personal item to somewhere in Fort Myers. He agreed to pay for the long-distance transportation and stated he would pay a large tip!!
When I arrived at the address to pick up the item, an elderly woman opened the door looking very confused. She was on the phone with another party and said “this package needs to be delivered to Sarasota.” The person on the phone confirmed. At that moment I understood that she didn’t even know where this item had to be delivered.
Something just wasn’t right
I felt something was off, so went back to the vehicle and called the number that had originally requested the ride. After a few rings, a man answered with a thick foreign accent. I was able to understand that the package was to be delivered to Ft Myers.
When I got off my phone, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the whole thing was just too strange.
I got out of my vehicle and rang the doorbell of the elderly couple once again. They appeared a little reluctant about talking to me.
“Ma’am, “I said. “Please explain what is in this envelope?”
“I’m not supposed to tell you” she answered.
I asked “is it money? She answered “$12,000 that we have to pay to save our grandson.”
“Where did you get this money? “I asked.
“Well, we went to the bank and withdrew it from our savings account.”
I immediately understood what was going on.
A Happy Ending
I asked if she had called her family to check on her grandson. She had not!! I suggested she should do it immediately!! She picked up the phone and called her daughter. When she hung up the phone, her face had softened with relief. The grandson was at home … and safe and sound!!! I gave her back the envelope and told her I had called the police.
I just wanted to share this story with everyone to remind you that these things happen all the time. This is not the first time that I have helped people who were scammed and about to lose their savings.”
The Moral of the Story
Please be cautious about sending money to anyone where you have not validated the story — there are many predators out there who are just waiting to take advantage of people desperate to help a family member they think is in trouble. Sadly, most of the victims of these crimes are the elderly who end up wiping out their savings … money which can never be traced or returned.