A Discovery Bay resident who nearly lost $400 in a combined online and telephone scam hopes that sharing his story with the public will prevent others from falling victim.
Paul Van Emmerik, 86, was minutes away from buying $400 in gift cards for a bogus PayPal investigator when an alert Discovery Bay Safeway employee inquired about the purchase and refused to complete the transaction, recognizing it was a scam.
A Contra Costa County sheriff’s sergeant confirmed minutes later that Van Emmerik was indeed nearly a scam victim.
“They (the scammers) were very nice people, they treated me like a king,” Van Emmerik said. “I was nervous. I am 86 … I thought they were PayPal, I thought they were true. They were so genuine.”
Van Emmerik’s ordeal began when he received a fictitious email from Sears,…