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Suffolk woman warns of elaborate scam

Published 10:06pm Monday, November 12, 2012

A Suffolk woman is warning folks to be on the alert for a particular type of scam after narrowly avoiding becoming a victim.

Cindy Fegley, cubmaster of Boy Scout Troop 1929, says she received a letter a few weeks ago offering a Suffolk-based job as store evaluator.

Thankful for the opportunity, she responded, as per the letter’s instructions, with her address “to receive additional information.”

Earlier last week, she says, she received “a contract, two forms for evaluating retail or service businesses, and what appeared to be a check for over $2,300.”

The check, the contract explained, was for purchases required for the evaluations. “I was to sign the contract and fax it back, then call the company to activate the check,” Fegley wrote in an email.

“While I was excited over the prospect of getting paid real money to do something I truly like doing, shopping, I was nonetheless rather skeptical. Who sends someone a large check without getting the contract first?”

It turns out that Fegley could have been one step away from, as she put it, the thieves “very easily (wiping) out my family’s savings.”

Deciding to investigate, she tracked down the bank the check was drawn from via the routing number and confirmed the account number was valid. The bank was unwilling to say whether the account had sufficient funds, though.

On Thursday, Fegley reached a “Roger O’Brien” — a man with a British accent, she says — by calling the number on the contract.

He said to “deposit the check into my account, “ Fegley wrote Saturday, “and then call back this morning between 9 and 9:30 a.m. to participate in a training session.”

She eventually took the check to her own bank, BB&T on Lee Farm Road, where a teller, after attempting to call the bank the check was apparently from, decided to contact the bank’s fraud department.

“The bank rep noted the envelope was stamped indicating it came from Canada,” Fegley wrote. “Apparently, that is indicative of a scam.  I was told if the fraud department validated the check, it would be deposited into my account, but if not, it would be turned over for further investigation.”

Fegley says she has learned that the suspected scam works by obtaining one’s address from the information request, signature from the contract and account number from depositing the check.

“The disappointing thing to me is that people who have the intelligence to come up with something as elaborate as this should use their powers for good and not evil,” she said. “I posted it (as a warning) for my friends on Facebook.”

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