Old scams evolving into new ones

November 16, 2009 8:01:30 AM PST
Action News gets calls every week from area residents who have fallen victim to scams. Here's how to protect yourself."I got a phone call from a man claiming I won a contest."

The caller told Bernie Johnson he won a vacation and a $100 gas card from a contest sponsored by Wal-Mart

"He just needed to verify some information and then he could get things out to me."

Bernie says he realized the caller was trying to pull a scam.

And Wal-Mart confirms the retailer would never call customers about a contest or to verify info.

Bernie says he wants to warn other people because as a father and a firefighter, it's second nature to protect the community however he can.

"And if I can help somebody out by getting the word out about this, I'm willing to do so."

Jennifer Curtis wants to get the word out about her experience, too.

"I thought this was a great opportunity to help my family. I didn't know this was a scam."

Jennifer answered an ad on Craig's List to be a caregiver to watch over a 3-year-old girl traveling to the states with her Dad, a businessman from London. She and the alleged father corresponded by email and even talked on the phone.

"And then he said I would get a payment prior to me watching his daughter."

Jennifer got a check in the mail for $4150!

"Half of it was supposed to be mine and half of it was supposed to be sent to a woman named Trudy Wells at a store in Ohio for kids' stuff that he claimed he ordered."

Jennifer deposited the check and wired half of it as instructed. But a couple days later her account was in the red.

"And to find out the check for $4150 was being returned because it was counterfeit and our account was $989 in the negative."

Here's what all consumers need to know. If you deposit a check that turns out to be bogus you are responsible for the money.

Jennifer is now thousands of dollars in debt and consumer advocates warn another scam is also becoming increasingly popular.

"Today with the technology people are out there offering free loans. There is no such thing as a free loan. That's the first thing everybody should remember."

Attorney General John Corbett says con-artists are promising loans in exchange for processing fees.

"If you have to pay get the money up front, walk away."

And again, anytime somebody sends you a check and wants you to wire part of it beware, from our experience it is always counterfeit and always part of a scam.


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