Two businesses in Conway were targeted by scammers over the weekend, who posed as officials from each of the business’ district offices.
According to two Conway Police Department incident reports, Walgreens on Oak Street and The Children’s Place on Elsinger Boulevard were contacted by individuals posing as corporate representatives who claimed that the businesses owed money.
According to the report from The Children’s Place, a newly promoted assistant manager received a call from a subject who was familiar with store policies, store employees, corporate employees and "even the store’s employee schedule."
The report stated that the caller told the assistant manager that the store’s manager who had left for lunch had been terminated, and that the phone call should remain confidential.
"They continued on to tell (the assistant manager) that certain paperwork had been neglected, and that the store owed them money for a slip and fall settlement with a customer. The suspect claimed that (the assistant manager) had to comply or they would be forced to terminate her, as well as other staff members," the report stated.
The report goes on to state that the assistant manager eventually complied and took $787 to a Western Union location. The money was wired to a Douglas Wellem in Texas, per the request of the caller.
The assistant manager told police that she became increasingly suspicious about the situation and eventually spoke with her manager about the phone call. The store manager contacted a district office and was advised that no such action had occurred on the corporate end.
A store team leader at Walgreens reported a similar incident.
The Walgreens employee stated that when a manager left for lunch, she received a call from someone identifying themselves as "Ms. Michelle," who claimed to be from the Walgreens home office.
The employee told police that the caller told her that a Walgreens community leader, a Mr. Lemon, was on his way to terminate the store’s manager for not following procedure.
The employee at Walgreens also reported that the caller knew information about store personnel, including schedules of employees and managers.
The report stated that the caller told the employee to tell her manager when he returned from lunch that she needed to run an errand for the district office.
"(The employee) said that Ms. Michelle told her that she needed her to take $779 plus a $60 fee and wire it to Jame Ella in Texas ... to pay for claim #136777 and that it had to be done by 1400 hours so Walgreens wouldn’t be sued in small claims court."
The report stated that the employee overheard sounds on the telephone that seemed to be Ms. Michelle typing and speaking with Mr. Lemon about the paperwork needed to terminate the store’s manager.
The employee told police that she assumed that she was following correct orders due to the information that Ms. Michelle had about the store.
When the store’s manager was contacted about the incident, he told police that only store employees had access to the employee schedule that is located in the store’s office.
In both incidents, employees or former employees were suspected.
The officer who obtained information at The Children’s Place stated that he later learned that another identical incident had occurred at an unaffiliated store.
Police told the manager at Walgreens to review security footage to see if any employees were on their phones at the time of the call. The manager was also advised that if he or any of the employees in the store noticed someone watching the business, to notify police.
La Tresha Woodruff, public information officer for the Conway Police Department, said that both incidents are under investigation at this time.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)