Internet Dating and Romance Scams

Welcome to the place to inform and educate yourself about safe internet dating

Scams use money wiring. Police warn not to accept funds.

BY THE TRIBUNE’S STAFF

Monday, August 2, 2010

If you get money orders or checks in the mail from someone you don’t know asking that you wire money back to them, just say “no.”

That’s the message Columbia police are sending residents after responding to a string of advanced fee scams this summer.

The incidents, though unrelated, all involved victims receiving advanced payments and wiring money.

* On June 12, a female victim said she received an e-mail saying she’d won a Mystery Shopper position. She received money orders in the mail and was instructed to wire $1,700 back from the amount received, leaving her with $200. She discovered the money orders were fake and did not wire any money.
* On June 14, a man said he responded to an ad for a home for rent on Craigslist. He was told to send the first month’s rent to Nigeria via Western Union in exchange for keys. He sent the money but never received the keys.
* On June 22, a woman told police she received fraudulent money orders from a man in Canada who responded to an ad she had posted to sell a horse. Her bank recognized the money orders were fraudulent, and she did not send the horse.
* On June 25, a man said he responded to a Craigslist ad seeking a personal assistant. The advertiser said he was in Puerto Rico with his wife, who had a broken leg and was flying back to Columbia where she’d need someone to drive her, police spokeswoman Officer Jessie Haden said. After the victim responded, the scammer sent him a cashier’s check for $4,800 and asked that he wire $4,000 back to pay a travel agent. The victim did so and later discovered the check was fraudulent.
* On July 10, a female reported that she wired money for an English bull dog she saw for sale online. The victim said she sent the funds to Cameroon, Africa, and has since determined the supposed sale was a scam.
* On July 12, a woman posted an embroidery machine for sale on Craigslist. A supposed buyer contacted her and sent her a check for $2,740, more than the $1,200 she was asking for. The buyer first told her to keep the extra money then later contacted her and asked that she return the money via Western Union. She sent $740 back to the buyer, but her bank then notified her that the check was fraudulent. Haden said it does not appear the victim sent the machine.
* On July 23, officers received a report from a woman who received two checks, each for $925, in the mail for her to be a secret shopper. She sent all but $200 back, as instructed. The victim later discovered the checks were fraudulent.

As a rule of thumb, Haden said residents should not agree to wire money back from someone who’s sending checks or money orders. Anyone with questions about a transaction can run it by police in advance by calling 874-7448.

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August 3, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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