The people of Winterset, Iowa have been going through a lot since the tornado that ravaged their town in March. It didn't take long for scammers to start preying on some of them, unfortunately.

According to KCCI, some quick thinking and good training on the part of a manager at the Winterset Dollar General saved an 85-year-old customer from such a fate.

Winterset police chief Ken Burk said a woman went into the store Monday to buy a $500 gift card. She was on the phone during much of her visit, which seemed very odd to the store manager/clerk. On the other end of the line was a man who was apparently giving the woman some very suspicious instructions.

Chief Burk said:

they actually instructed her to don't tell anyone you're on the phone, hide your phone while you're in the store, don't let them know you're on the phone because what's happening is clerks are seeing this

The $500 gift card was apparently going to be part of the scam, as she had been on the phone with the man for two hours prior. The scammer said she needed to send him $500 to receive a $2.5 million "prize".

Store manager Alyssa Taylor could tell something was up. She quietly asked the customer if she was purchasing the gift card for someone on the phone. Taylor got on the phone, and the scammer hung up. Burk eventually called the scammer back and told the loser on the other end "you're ripping off old people, doesn't that feel crappy?"

The creep's response just added to the weirdness

They are going to die with the money and their son and daughter will be just taking the money ... and take drugs. We need it to build a house and take care of our family

While Burk praised Taylor for her quick thinking, Taylor just chalked it up as part of the job.

It finally came about that my training was necessary. And I'm grateful that I was able to help her

Police say the scammer was likely operating from overseas. It was indeed a horrible thing to do and it may seem like common sense to most of us not to fall for it. But generations before, like the woman in this incident whose name was not disclosed, tend to be more trusting and therefore more vulnerable.

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Police say, don't be like her. Never give money or personal information over the phone to anyone offering an alleged "prize".

Luckily, a new bill signed into Iowa law recently by Governor Kim Reynolds was designed to make this sort of thing heavily punishable, making elderly abuse (including the financial type) a criminal act for the first time in Iowa history. Learn more about that law here.

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