A Morgan County woman who placed an ad in The Huntsville Times says she stumbled onto a scam that police are now investigating.
It all started when she paid for the ad using her credit card.
Janice Washco of Trinity wanted to warn others. She runs a thrift store in Morgan County.
“We take credit cards here,” said Washco. “We take credit and debit.”
She says she’s had no trouble doing business that way. So, she didn’t think twice about using her own credit card to place an ad in The Huntsville Times for some Yorkie puppies she had for sale.
She says it cost $27, and she charged it to her Discover Card.
Early the next morning, she got a phone call.
“At 7 o’clock, my phone rang and it was supposedly The Huntsville Times,” she said. “She didn’t have my payment processed properly, they had missed a digit in my credit card.”
Washco says the caller asked her to read out the information on her card to verify and, still sleepy, Washco complied.
“She told me that they would run my ad for two extra weeks because of the problem,” said Washco.
But at 7 o’clock that night, she says she received another call. This one was from Discover’s Fraud Protection Unit telling her someone had charged more than $300 from two stores.
She went to The Huntsville Times the next day to find out what happened.
“They told me it was an international scam, that it was happening everywhere,” said Washco.
The Times issued a statement Monday saying, in part, “We encourage those placing information in the public domain to follow a ‘seller beware’ mentality. There are scam artists out there who will use information however they can get it, to get you to give them private information to use against you.”
The Huntsville Times has reported the issue to the police.
Washco didn’t lose any money, since she had fraud insurance on her account.
If you run across such a scam, or have questions, contact the North Alabama Better Business Bureau at 1-866-94-BBB-19.