HARTFORD, Wis. — When a senior citizen tried to send cash in a box to New York, Jodi Groonwald, owner of Hartford's Pack & Ship and More, raised the red flags and helped put a stop to a scheme.
"With every customer, I ask them, anything illegal, dangerous, hazardous, or prohibited? I ask them what's in the box? If it's fragile or breakable? And he didn't want to answer any of those questions," Groonwald said.
Groonwald knew something wasn't right when the elderly man came in and was hesitant to answer basic questions about who he was sending his box to and why.
"I looked at the name of who it was going to and I said, 'Well what's in here that he needs in such a big hurry? Because he insisted that it go overnight with no signature," she said.
"And again he didn't answer the question."
She trusted her intuition and held onto the package. After the man left, she called the Hartford Police Department, and good thing she did because inside the package was $12,000 in cash.
Hartford patrol officer Cory Whipple went to the senior's house.
"He was adamant that he was not being scammed," Whipple said. "It was '100 percent I need to send this money.' So, I asked him why and he got to the fact of over the last couple of months his computer had been hacked."
We're choosing not to name the senior who was targeted to protect his privacy. Whipple says the man told him some bank had mistakenly put $12,000 into his account and now they wanted that money back.
So, he told the officer he needed to overnight that exact amount to a man in New York so that his computer would be fixed. According to Officer Whipple, others have fallen for this type of scheme too.
"We learned through FedEx that other packages had been sent to the same address in New York," he said.
As far as who was behind this scheme, police believe a bogus name was used, so tracking down the culprit isn't that easy.
"They stay at these houses for a couple of days, get a few packages, and then they move on to a different address."
All $12,000 in the box was given back to the man thanks to Jodi Groonwald. Turns out, this isn't the first time Groonwald spotted a scam like this one.
"If somebody did that to someone in my family, I'd be very angry. And so I'm just trying to look out for somebody," Groonwald.
Hartford police recognized her for acting fast and saving this man from a huge financial loss. They are calling Groonwald a hero.
"I don't see it as being a hero. I see it as doing the right thing," she said.
Hartford police worked with FedEx and have flagged the New York address, so future packages to that location would be closely inspected. But as Officer Whipple explained, these con-artists tend to be on the move. So, having additional help, in this case, Groonwald can stop a scheme from happening in the first place.