Dial-A-Ride driver helps woman avoid scam

A careful eye of a Lassen Rural Bus Dial-A-Ride driver helped a local woman save thousands of dollars in an alleged scam last week.

During the Tuesday Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting, Caleb Schortz, Paratransit Services for Lassen Rural Bus general manager, shared a story of a driver and business owner going above and beyond to protect a client from a potential scam.

On the morning of March 8, a Dial-A-Ride client was picked up for her scheduled trip to Supreme Graphics, Schortz told the board. During the trip, she was sharing her good fortune: She was on her way to make the final payment for a car she had won — a car that was already waiting for her in a Susanville storage unit, and all that was needed was the final cash payment. The driver sensed the story was off.

Since the passenger was having a difficult morning due since the cold weather affected her arthritis, Schortz said, the driver offered to mail the envelope for her. She accepted, and the driver walked the envelope into Supreme Graphics. Once inside, the driver asked the business if they could run the address to which the payment was being mailed: It came back to an abandoned house for sale.

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“Our driver’s feeling that something was off was confirmed. He went back out to the bus and tried to reason with our client against explaining what he had just learned,” Schortz recalled.

Still convinced it was an honest transaction, the client provided the name and telephone number of the awarded provider.

The driver and Ted Kranz, the owner of Supreme Graphics, called the number where the person on the other line, Larry, eventually hung up.

Schortz said Kranz recounted there had been numerous scams lately, deceiving local seniors to send payments for taxes and shipping for prizes that never arrive.

“Our driver explained what happened to our client and offered to take her back to the bank to redeposit her money in the amount of $4,000. Our client was extremely grateful, crying and hugging our driver, saying ‘thank you’ over and over again,” Schortz said during public comment.

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He added he shared this experience “with the hope that it will reach other seniors with the warning of the propensity of these scams that are specifically targeting them.”