US senator, YouTube channel congratulate teen for saving elderly man from scam


Gift cards at a store in Sydney, Australia. Renner and his mom stationed themselves at a store’s gift card section to intercept the elderly man to stop him from buying gift cards for scammers. — Bloomberg

Nearly two months after 13-year-old Renner Taylor and his mother, Lisa, jumped in to save an elderly man from scammers in Beaufort, a South Carolina senator and the YouTube channel that educated the family on the trick sent gifts to the boy.

On Feb 7, Renner was sceptical while opening up three packages waiting for him at the family’s home. The teen shot wary glances at his mother in videos sent to the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. As she filmed him opening the first box, Renner’s eyes bugged out of his head when he recognised the name on the return address.

“It says from Scammer Payback,” he said, holding out the return slip to his mother in disbelief. “No way! This is their logo.”

Scammer Payback, a YouTube channel with millions of subscribers that puts out educational videos on scammers and their tactics, sent boxes of prizes including a hat, t-shirt, water bottle and special note from their team after learning about how Renner and his family saved an elderly man from scammers by using tips the family learned in their videos.

On Jan 10, Renner, his mother, Lisa, and his three-year-old sister were shopping at a Beaufort Publix on Robert Smalls Parkway when he overheard an elderly man in the restroom talking to who he believed was a scammer.

The man had the scammers on speakerphone, Lisa Taylor previously told the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. The scammer had told the man to buy gift cards and hand over the serial codes.

Recognising the signs from binge-watching videos from Scammer Payback, Renner rushed to tell his mom. The two then stationed themselves at the store’s gift card section to intercept the man. When they did, they were able to stop him and got store managers and the police involved.

“Thank you so much, Renner, for taking your knowledge and helping save a victim,” the YouTube channel’s team wrote in their note to him. “An honorary member of Scammer Payback and the fight. God bless you.”

Renner immediately switched his hat, a near-constant staple in his wardrobe, with the new one from Scammer Payback.

“Yeah, yeah,” he exclaimed while opening the box. “This is going to be my new hat!”

Another thank you from state Senate

This week, a second surprise came for the boy. S.C. Sen. Tom Davis sent a certificate to recognise him for his efforts and to thank him “for bravely stepping in.”

“The Senate hereby commends you for your service,” the certificate said. “May you continue to courageously serve others and be successful in all your future endeavours.”

Receiving the gifts “lifted his spirits” after the teen accidentally broke a finger while playing around with his brothers, his mother said. The gifts made Taylor especially happy, she said, because the new hat means her son could retire a dirty old favourite he wore everyday.

“It was pretty cool,” Taylor said of the recognition. “He was super happy. They sent him a lot of things, too. I was surprised.” – The State/Tribune News Service

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