One Taco Bell restaurant was scammed out of thousands of dollars via a phony phone call that should have triggered a number of red flags for the employees involved, but apparently did not.
According to KARK-TV, someone called a Benton, AR, Taco Bell on Tuesday evening, claiming to be “Pamela Miller,” a vice president with Taco Bell HQ.
The caller told an employee that their restaurant’s manager was about to be arrested by U.S. Marshals for voiding customer receipts and pocketing the money. The employee told police she was directed to take thousands of dollars from the restaurant’s safe, put it in a bank bag, and give it to a trusted co-worker who would then receive further instructions. The fake VP told the employee that she was watching everything remotely on security camera.
So the employee, who somehow did not simply hang up on this obviously phony caller, got the money and gave it to a second worker. That guy, then spoke to “Pamela” who gave him directions on how to wire the money.
It wasn’t until after this second employee had been gone an hour that the original staffer apparently began to think that maybe she had been scammed. That’s when she called the regional manager, who confirmed that this Pamela person was a fraud.
The police were called, and they were able to track down the Bell employee with the cash before he’d wired it all. However, he’d already transferred $1,300 via a Western Union terminal at a local supermarket, and another $1,000 via Money Gram at a Walmart store. He said that “Pamela” had instructed him to flush the receipts for these transfers down the toilet. Again… not quite sure how that didn’t set off alarm bells in his head, but okay.
KARK reports that police were able to track down the apparent recipients of the two transfers, but fast food franchisees around the country should probably take this incident as a teachable moment for their employees.