A Port Chester woman who hoped to make some extra money by putting advertising on her car ended up falling victim to a wire fraud scam that cost her more than $2,400, according to Port Chester police.
Police said the fraud reported on Friday is one of many recent incidents in which Port Chester residents have been targeted by con artists who use a variety of telephone and internet schemes to obtain personal information and cheat people out of their hard-earned cash.
In this latest incident, a 56-year-old Port Chester woman thought she was taking advantage of a legitimate opportunity to make money by putting advertising on her car. However, Port Chester Police Lt. James Ladeairous the "opportunity" turned out to be a fraud.
Ladeairous said the woman saw an item on the Internet offering to pay for advertising that would be placed on personal vehicles. After signing up for what she thought was a real offer, the woman received a check in the mail for $3,313 issued from a bank in Brooklyn.
With the check came instructions that she needed to cash the check and send back $2,300 by wire to a company in Huingington Beach, CA. Ladeairous said the woman followed the instructions and afterward learned from her bank that the check she received was bogus.
Ladeairous said that meant she did not get $3,313, and the $2,300 she sent by wire was gone. In addition to the $2,300, the victim is out an additional $179 in fees connected with sending the money by wire to California.
The Better Business Bureau has heard plenty about scams like this. Here's the BBB's take on the situation:
To make the offer seem more believable, the fraudsters use the name of well-known companies, such as Coca Cola or Heineken Beer and “sweeten the pot” by offering $400 – $600 per week. Not bad, when supposedly all you have to do is drive around with vinyl advertising signs wrapped around your vehicle.
The offer begins to “unwrap” when they send an up-front payment by cash or money order for more than the promised amount. They ask you to cash the check and wire the “excess” money to a third party whom they say is the graphic designer for the project.
By this time, red flags should be waving for you. Any time you are sent a check or money order and asked to cash it and write a check to send to someone else, it is almost always a scam. Unfortunately, the checks the fraudsters send look so authentic some people do become victims and take a financial loss.
Port Chester police say if you think you may be the victim of a scam, give them a call and let them help you make sure you are not being targeted by a thief. Here are some other recent fraud incidents reported to Port Chester police: