IYC Scam Alert: Family sniffs out scheme

Posted on: 10:04 pm, September 24, 2012, by , updated on: 10:22pm, September 24, 2012

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OKLAHOMA CITY — If you regularly watch our In Your Corner segments, you know we’re always warning folks about the latest online scams.

Tina Chase said a fraudster targeted her son on Craigslist.

“My son wanted to sell this desk on Craigslist,” she said.

Within an hour of posting the ad, someone claiming to live out-of-state contacted Tina’s son about the desk.   

Tina said, “I said,’Watch, He’ll send you a check for more than what you ask for.’”

Tina’s hunch was spot on; the counterfeit check was nearly $1,600 above the table’s asking price. 

Her son, a starving artist, wondered how the scam artist can make money off a counterfeit check.

“So I had to explain to him, ‘You deposit the check in your account. You give him the cash,’” Tina said. “‘Now all the money’s gone and oh geez, the check doesn’t clear because it’s either on a fake account, or closed account or stolen account.’”

We traced the Fed-Ex package back to a Kansas City suburb.

The sender appears to go by the name Brandi and there’s a phone number, but that doesn’t mean Brandi is behind the scam.

It’s likely the fraudster hacked into her phone, stole her number, then tricked her into working as his accomplice.  

Tina worries about those far more vulnerable.  

“I said, ‘Think of your grandparents. It would be real easy for your grandparents to get sucked into something like this,’” she said. “Or someone like [my son] who’s younger, who’s not going to pay attention to the news when they talk about these scams like I do.”

It’s an invaluable lesson for a budding artist trying to make it on his own.

Here’s the scary thing, the fraudster has Tina’s son’s name, cell phone number and address.

Keep this in mind:

  • Never cash a suspicious check.
  • Never blind-wire the cash to a total stranger.
  • Take the check to your bank and let them examine it first.