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Quick thinking from Kansas City gas station workers prevents man from losing thousands through Bitcoin scam

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Sep 01, 2023

VOICE FOR EVERYONE | Share your voice with KSHB 41’s Megan Abundis

Employees at a Kansas City gas station thwarted scammers from stealing thousands of dollars from a man.

KSHB 41 News reporter Megan Abundis is highlighting the employees who saved the day, in hopes of protecting others from falling for similar schemes.

The Phillips 66 Fuel Expresso off of NE Cookingham Drive in the Northland is managed by Brooke Eugenio.

Eugenio makes sure things go according to plan, but Monday was anything but normal.

“It just didn’t feel right; it wasn’t right,” Eugenio said.

Eugenio and her staff were trying to protect a man who was duped into bringing thousands of dollars in cash and giving it to scammers via a Bitcoin machine.

She said the man was standing at the machine labeled with many scam warnings.

“I looked on the surveillance camera and he was using the machine,” Eugenio said. “I thought, well that’s odd, he was an older gentleman, surely he doesn’t have a Bitcoin account.”

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department said he was nervous because he was tricked into believing he was on the phone with his bank and needed to move the money.

Eugenio and her staff intervened many times.
 
“I said, 'Sir, do you need help?'” Eugenio said. “The man on the phone was telling him not to talk to me. He kept putting money in that machine — I looked at Audrey and said, 'Call the police.'"

Audrey Tilton, a cashier at Fuel Expresso, called 911 and police were there within 10 minutes.

“I told them that there was an older gentleman here and I believed he was being scammed,” Tilton said.

Police got to him before he lost the rest of his $13,000, but the scammer was nowhere to be found.

“A little intervening can do a lot,” Tilton said.

Eugenio now hopes others can take notes on this incident to prevent them from being scammed.

“I hope with this story, someone will see it and not fall for it because nobody’s going to ask you for your money,” Eugenio said.

A learning lesson for everyone that ends with gratitude.

“There’s a lot of people that do use Bitcoin,” Eugenio said. “I think everybody, especially in our company — we need to teach our employees about Bitcoin and the signs to look out for."

Eugenio said the man brought in a card with three simple words: "Thanks so much."

“He came in the next day and gave me a big hug,” she said.

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Eugenio also hopes to inspire others to help those in need if they see something suspicious.

“I think everyone in the world should step up when they see something,” Eugenio said. “I think everybody should look out for each other.”

In an online post, KCPD said the man’s bank would set up family alerts if large withdrawals were taken out again.

KCPD did not respond to requests for more information on the incident from the department's economic crimes unit.