Woman Loses Money To Web Scam

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An unsuspecting Payson resident has fallen prey to the worldwide plague of Internet scams.

The Payson woman received an e-mail from a David Smith, representing a fraudulent company calling itself Noble Textiles Ltd., out of London.

The initial e-mail offered the victim a part-time job she could perform from her home, processing checks for the company, in exchange for 10 percent of the money processed.

Smith said Noble Textiles Ltd. had companies in the United States it sent its products to, and received payments in the form of U.S. money orders and cashier's checks.

It went on to say that the company needed a person in the U.S. to cash the money orders because "the money orders and cashier's checks are not readily cashable outside the United States, so we need someone in the U.S. to work as our representative and assist us in processing all payments from our clients and we pay weekly salary."

The victim would receive the checks via UPS and was to deposit the checks in the victim's bank account, keep 10 percent and then forward the balance to regional companies whose names would be supplied to the victim.

The victim agreed to the offer, and on Oct. 3, received four money orders totaling $3,720 and took them to a Payson bank and deposited them.

The victim then forwarded the balance to a company whose name was provided by Smith.

A couple of days later, the bank notified the victim the money orders were fraudulent and the victim would be held financially responsible for the monies forwarded to Smith.

The woman was scammed out of $2,600 in the scheme.

The woman did report the fraud to the U.S. Postal Service and other law enforcement agencies.

Because the company is non-existent and fraudulent, the chances of the victim ever recovering any money are slim, police officials said.

Another typical Internet scam is e-mails telling people their bank accounts have a problem of some kind and the customer needs to provide certain personal information to solve it.

Lisa Lopez, with First Arizona Federal Credit Union said banking related e-mail scams are common and consumers should be wary of any communications or offers made via e-mail.

She said e-mails informing customers of various banks that their account has been closed or suspended is a growing problem.

"We've seen a huge increase in this kind of thing over the last three months," Lopez said.

These e-mails typically tell a person they need to click on a link and provide certain personal information such as account numbers and Social Security numbers to re-open the account and have access to the funds.

Lopez said Arizona Federal Credit Union never sends out such e-mails. Other financial institutions said the same thing.

"Members of our bank have to initiate any e-mail notification systems, we never send out e-mails through an insecure address, asking customers to verify information by clicking a link online," she said.

The victim's name is not being published for her protection.

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