(WHNT) - Some in law enforcement call telephone and internet scams a problem of epidemic proportion. Just last week, the Madison County Sheriff's Office revealed more than 50 people in this area had fallen victim to a telephone scam involving the name of his department.
WHNT News 19 has taken on the task of trying to expose these thieves to help keep you from becoming a victim.
It seems like almost every time you open an email or answer you phone, someone's trying to steal your money. Well, we've had enough, and we decided to play a little game with these thieves. We call it 'Scamming the Scammers.'
A WHNT News 19 viewer sent us an email she received from scam artists. She had posted her husband's resume on Craigslist and a few minutes later, she received the email offering her a job as a warehouse inspector. The job description was a little vague but sounded basically like the reshipping scam we have profiled.
Al Whitaker tells his story:
It turns out, there were two separate offers from two different groups of thieves. I applied for both positions and got hired by both of them.
The envelopes arrived within days. I saved the first one for U.S. Postal Inspector Tony Robinson to open.
"Yep, counterfeit check," said Robinson.
Robinson examined the check and said it was a pretty impressive forgery.
"Ten years ago, no one would have even batted an eye at something like this, they would have thought it legit," said Robinson. "Nowadays, with the advanced printing technology that we have, people are able to print this out, and even some of the printing will have magnetic ink."
Robinson checked and even the postage on the envelope was bogus.
Next, we called the company listed on the check. Unfortunately, they had no idea this was happening. The scam artists were sending checks all over the place on their account.
"Can you fax me a copy of that?" they asked.
WHNT News 19 did, and the company immediately turned the matter over to their legal department.
Then it was time to call the thieves. Both had sent me text messages so I had phone numbers to try, and one of them answered.
"Go ahead and proceed with the instructions given to you," a man named 'Devan' said.
"Devan, man, you didn't really think I was going to put that check in my bank account, did you? I mean, you guys are thieves, you know. How do you sleep at night scamming people like this?" we said to him.
'Devan' just laughed and hung up.
Of course, what they wanted me to do was deposit the check, keep some of it as my salary, and wire the rest of it to one of their associates. One wanted the money to go to a guy in New Jersey, the other said send the money to Istanbul, Turkey.
These people have no conscience. They will steal your grandmother's life savings and only stop long enough to congratulate themselves before going after their next victim -- and that's the key, as long as they keep finding victims, they'll keep doing this.
WHNT News 19 will keep doing these stories because the best way to curb these thefts is to educate people not to become a victim. You've got to learn to recognize the scam when it first comes around the corner at you.
Most people are savvy enough not to fall for it, but your kids, your parents, your grandparents, you need to have a discussion with them to make sure they are aware this type of thing is happening.