Tallahassee Police Uncover Fraud Scheme

By: Adam Vasallo
By: Adam Vasallo

TPD's Financial Crimes Unit says victims of this scheme are responding to newspaper ads and then being duped into giving the suspects money.

Authorities say it's a shining example of what consumers need to be aware of.

Tallahassee police say it all starts with a small newspaper ad. They offer big money to work at home, but police say victims are soon cashing checks for the suspect company, a company that TPD says uses a fake Tallahassee address and checks from a bogus local bank.

SGT Bill Bierbaum, TPD Financial Crimes Unit Supervisor, says, "When they have these cashier checks that come in like this, they want you to cash checks, send them the money back. That should be a red flag."

Consumers say with more and more schemes popping up everyday, they're staying aware.

Jeremy Countryman says, "It's clearly a problem. There are people out there looking to take your money away and they have a lot of ways due to everything being electronic now."

And as technologies advance, authorities say they must too.

SGT Steve Harrellson of the LCSO Financial Crimes Unit says, "Every time we think we have a new scheme resolved, they come up with a new one that's even better than the previous."

Criminals are moving so fast that victims often don't know they've become one.

Kimberly Dotson, a former identity theft victim, says, "By the time you find out, sometimes it's too late, you can't get any of the money back."

TPD says this latest case should be a warning to consumers so they don't become victims too.

Bierbaum adds, "Obviously they have checking accounts in the U.S. Why are they asking you to do it? That's what you should be asking yourself."

SGT Bierbaum says the investigation into this scheme is ongoing, and because in many of the cases victims filled out job applications, he says he won't be surprised if he receives some identity theft reports as a result.

So far police say these ads haven't showed up in our area newspapers, but say calls from victims in other cities are pouring in.


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