We were recently contacted by a woman we’ll call Nan. Nan was burned once by a scammer last year and her experience led her to us. We’re sure readers know the expression “once burned, twice shy.” Based on our conversations with Nan, we have a new expression… “once burned, now I’m going to waste your time, money and string you along.” Nan now prides herself as a scam-hunter and we’re proud of her! Rather than cancel her accounts through which she has been targeted by scammers, Nan lies in wait, excited when she recognizes the tell-tale signs of a scam. She’s learned the hard way and now puts that knowledge to good use. Nan has been contacted several times through her Care.com account by what she has come to recognize as the advance check scam. Advance-check scams are a dime a dozen and Nan tells us that the scammers can bring it on.
So, we proudly Knight Nan as our Anti-Scam Crusader and praise her effort and enthusiasm for fighting the good fight! This is her most recent escapade…
On Jan 3, 2017 7:25 PM, “ato jino” <email@example.com> wrote:
My name is Dr. James Abbott. Your application was granted as my personal assistant. You will receive your First Assignment on Thur or Fri. Thanks.
From: Nan [EMAIL REMOVED]
Date: Jan 4, 2017 1:21 PM
Subject: Re: Hi
To: “ato jino” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Will I be receiving packages?
From: “ato jino” <email@example.com>
Date: Jan 5, 2017 10:39 AM
To: Nan [EMAIL REMOVED]
Hi, You will receive the Assignment Package today. Kindly follow the instruction letter enclosed and complete the Assignment immediately. I will be looking forward to hear from you. Please reply
Not long after their brief exchange, Nan received a United States Postal Service 2-day priority mail envelope from a business identified as Moving Right Along, located at 101-21 101st Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL. It took no effort at all for us to see that there is a real business with this name and address but not in Florida. It is located in Ozone Park, New York! Neither Zillow nor Google can find any such address in Florida.
The envelope that “ato jino” sent to Nan contained the following instructions on stationary from “Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.” By the way, according to Google, Clear Lake Regional Medical Center is located in Webster, Texas.
This is the First Assignment Package as discussed in our previous conversation.
Read the following instruction carefully:
*You will have to cash/deposit the cashier’s check ($1646.71) at your bank today
*The funds should be available in your bank account same day or next day [THIS IS A LIE! MOST BANKS REQUIRE 3-7 DAYS, depending on several factors including if a deposit is made on a weekend or holiday, and make take 5-7 days before determining that a check is fraudulent.]
*Deduct $350 as your weekly wages and another $100 for Moneygram sending fee and Gas
To send the remaining funds $1196) to the Hospital Cashier that would be taking care of the Medication of the Client.
*This is one of the Assignments you will be doing on a weekly basis.
Below is the information of the Company Cashier:
Name: Felix Starks / Address: 3500 Hemphill St, City: Fort Worth State: Texas
Zip Code: 76110…………………………Please send $1196 here via MONEYGRAM
Please e-mail me here upon delivery of this Package firstname.lastname@example.org . My
email@example.com . Kindly text me here immediately 409-220-5971
*Kindly send the eight digits Moneygram Reference Number of the transaction above after the transaction has been completed to my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. James Abbott
The “OFFICIAL CHECK” is from SeaComm Federal Credit Union, which is located in upstate New York, near the Canadian border.
OK I’ve reported you to the authorities.. thanks for another scam!! I’ve already now turned in 10 people! You will be caught for what you are doing. You are a criminal and shame on you!!
Nan tells us that she has played the scammers several times now. She either turns the checks in directly to the bank, or into the authorities. She also turns over any packages, mailers and emails over to the authorities. As she has told us… “I love catching these scam artists in the act. It’s literally a high because I’m stopping them from scamming innocent people. Just being able to help is amazing to me.”
What did Nan accomplish? A lot actually. She wasted the scammer’s time and money, and put him at risk by exposing the fraud. By informing the bank and the authorities, she made it much harder to use the bogus checks pretending to be this bank. But most importantly, she played them much like the way they play others. And so, to Nan, we say thank you! You are truly a crusader and we salute you!
Recognizing Advance-Checks scams is actually very easy because they all contain the same key points:
- Payment is sent in advance using a large check; often without a lot of conversation about the job and within hours or a couple of days of “being hired.”
- Contact with your “boss” is ONLY through text or email. There is no face-to-face or video chat either. Not even a phone call.
- You are expected to deposit the bogus check and immediately withdraw your own real cash to pay for something for the scammer by using an untraceable service like a Moneygram service.