Some people just don’t know when to stop.
A man contacted us with a story today. He claimed to be the victim of a scam that has cost him nearly $4,000. His bank account is now frozen, he said, and with two young children, a wife and an impending army deployment, he told me he was running out of options.
He asked if I could help so I asked him for his story.
The man identified himself and told me that about a month ago he and his wife were looking for employment online and stumbled across a company that claimed to pay people to shop. He said he signed up for the program and a few weeks later a check came in the mail.
He went on to tell me how real the check looked, how official the letterhead appeared, how the process seemed legitimate to both him and his wife.
The instructions told him to deposit the check, keep $1,000 for himself, and send $1,000 to the company as a fee in the form of a Money Gram. The rest, according to the letter, would be spent purchasing items and checking out different retail stores across Oklahoma City.
The man said he tried to call the number listed on his paperwork and it was busy. He didn’t get suspicious, however, and proceeded to take the check to his local bank. The bank teller didn’t look skeptical of the check, he said, but as a matter of bank policy she called around to check the funds of the account. She came up empty handed–no information on the account at all. However, she cashed the check on the spot and left $1,000 in his bank account.
He said he had no idea that anything was wrong until he went to the store a few days later to purchase cleaning supplies. The cashier told him that his card had been declined.
The man called the bank and they told him his account was frozen because he had cashed a fraudulent check.
I offered to work something out with them,” he said. “They have to get their money back, I know, but they are going after the wrong person.”
I asked hime if he had seen anything on the news about this scam.
It’s been fairly publicized,” I said. “The Attorney General’s office made a big hubbub about it this summer and a few of the television channels did stories.”
He didn’t tell me that he’d seen them, but he reiterated how real everything looked.
I told him I would do some digging and call him back with more information, but I didn’t trust the holes in his story. Something didn’t make sense.
After some serious searching and following my gut, the only thing I turned up was the fact that the man himself is a swindler.
Meanwhile, there are people who have fallen prey to this scam. Be aware that sometimes people and things aren’t what they appear to be and the scammers are often themselves parading as the victims in order to get what they want.