A Scam too Good to be True
COLUMBIA - If it sounds too good to be true...there's a good chance it is. Columbia's Police Department is warning residents of a string of money scams that could cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. It's called an Advance-Fee Scam.
The best way to avoid the scam is to avoid wiring money to someone you don't know.
Here's how it works:
- A victim typically receives what they think is money from the scammer after previously working out an exchange in the mail, craigslist or by email.
- The scammer asks for some of that money back-for something like shipping.
- After money is sent back, the victim cashes the money order or check...which turns out to be fake.
You should also keep an eye out for money orders through Western Union and Money Gram, that's where a majority of the money orders are going through.
Officer Jessie Haden says it's easy to fall for this scam.
"When you get money coming your way and it's in hand, and you deposit it in the bank and when you can withdraw part of that money immediately or part of that money the next day, people just start thinking quickly, they start thinking emotionally, and they forget to step back and look at it rationally," Haden says.
If you ever think you're getting duped...Officer Haden says the best thing to do is to call the bank that's named on the check or money order.