Thieves impersonate Western Union workers, steal money

Thieves impersonate Western Union workers, steal money

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by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 6:09 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 10:54 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Western Union is one of the easiest ways to get money and for some crooks one of the easiest ways to steal it.

"They sound like very very professional, they are well rehearsed at what they do," said Rex Woody a store manager for a Check Cashing business in the 7000 block of South Boulevard.

He may have talked to the suspects, but didn’t fall for their spiel. Some employees of a Food Lion located at 5831 South Boulevard got taken.

Police say the suspects called the store and pretended to work for Western Union and at that point got them to perform a test.

"They call the store ask to speak to the customer service rep that's working the counter where Western Union is and tell them to run a test...and the test is actually sending money instead of running a test," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Fraud Investigator Kevin Jones.

The con artists managed to steal more than 3 thousand dollars from the store; it involved 3 separate transactions and took about 50 minutes.

Although Woody didn’t fall for it he understands. "They sound very professional, they really know the intricacies of Western Union, they know how our systems work, what terminology to use," he said.

Police say it’s the first time they have seen this kind of scam in Charlotte, they are worried it may spread and want employees to be careful.

"Make sure you're following store protocols if you think something is not right check with your store manager call Western Union yourself," said Jones who thinks the suspects may be from out of the country.

“It could be Nigeria, it could be Canadians, it could be the U.K. it could be someone here in the United States.”

Woody works in a mom and pop type store he says this type of scam could be devastating.

"We've been lucky, not lucky, well trained Western Union has good policies as far as how to handle this, but again these are smooth talkers," he said.
 

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