OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Thousands of dollars missing from a North Carolina nonprofit popped up in Oklahoma.
But the local woman who was involved was scammed herself, and experts say this happens more than you would think.
It’s a crime that crossed state lines after hackers attacked the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland County, N.C.
According to our sister station Fox 46, this started after the nonprofit had their email hacked.
“It’s sadly no surprise that fraudsters targeted the Boys and Girls Club,” cybersecurity expert Theresa Payton said to our sister station. “They go after nonprofits all the time.”
By the time the compromise had been discovered, nearly $60,000 had been stolen. North Carolina authorities say some of the funds were cashed by a woman in Midwest City.
Teaming up with Fox 46, we were able to track down the local woman.
She’s in the process of searching for a job and wished to remain anonymous. But she tells our team she had no intentions of scamming anyone.
It started with a text from a phony Publisher’s Clearing House, saying she had won the jackpot.
“They said there’s taxes, you gotta pay the taxes,” she explained. “And you can’t tell nobody.”
The ruse continued for several weeks. The woman tells KFOR the fraudsters gave her access to a bank account to pay bills.
They eventually requested she withdraw thousands in cash and send the money through the mail.
“They wanted me to wrap up the money in newspaper or magazine,” she said. “I said I’ll wrap it in Christmas paper.”
For anyone who’s ever in this predicament, know that this is a huge red flag.
This year alone, we’ve covered two other stories where unsuspecting Oklahomans mailed thousands of dollars across the country.
“It was just short of $5,000,” said the Midwest City woman.
This woman’s story truly shows the ramifications of such scams.
She was an unsuspecting party in a scheme that stole thousands from children in the southeast.
Experts say this is all too common.
“They don’t realize that they’re actually being used in a fraudster’s international scheme to launder money,” noted Theresa Payton.
The woman tells our team that eventually all payments she made through the scammer’s account bounced.
She’s now looking for a job and for forgiveness.
“Oh, God it just breaks my heart,” she said. “I’ll try to fix it if I can.”
The Boys and Girls Club did send our sister station the following statement:
“For more than 50 years, the safety and protection of the youth we serve and the responsible stewardship of resources entrusted to us by donors have been our absolute number one priorities. Recently, Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland County learned of unauthorized activity in the Club’s bank account. No funds will be lost by the Club as the financial institution’s fraud department investigates further.
Upon learning this, the Club acted immediately by contacting the proper authorities to investigate this serious matter further. In addition, our Board of Directors has initiated an immediate and rigorous evaluation of all management policies and procedures to determine this discrepancy and further strengthen and safeguard the organization’s finances and operations as we go forward.
Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland County will cooperate fully with authorities involved in the investigation and will withhold further comment until the process is complete.”JACK WELLER, BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF CLEVELAND COUNTY BOARD PRESIDENT
Midwest City police say they were not involved in this investigation.