A new scam strikes South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A new scam strikes South Georgia

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April 2, 2003

Albany-- We have a warning for you tonight. A scam in South Georgia is costing victims thousands of dollars. A small group, poising as handy-men, knock on doors asking to do odd jobs for a low price. But as soon as the check is in hand--they alter it, cash it, and leave town.

Marvin Paul can't believe he was scammed, "I told my wife, well we've been took."

He was scammed out of $2,025.00 dollars--much more than the two $25.00 dollar checks he wrote to some men who pressure washed his Albany home back in October, "They asked me to make out two checks. I made out both for $25.00 dollars each. I didn't think more about it until I got my bank statement and they took me for $2,000.00 dollars."

"While I was doing some checking into the situation and trying to locate people on checks, I stumbled onto a ring commonly referred to as the Irish Travelers."

Lee County Investigator Geoffrey Smith pinpointed Marvin Paul's altered check as the work of a small band of men doing similar crimes across the Southeast--they are part of a subculture known as the Irish travelers,"For the most part they are honest people, but a certain segment of the society is known for con jobs, scam artists."

Six of these scam artists have been arrested in Florida and Tennessee. The men knock on doors asking to do small jobs for $10.00, $25.00, or $50.00 dollars. They alter the checks--like this one written for $25.00 dollars--to be a lot more, in this case $2,025.00 dollars.

That check was Marvin Paul's--and he wants other unsuspecting people to watch out, "Be careful how they talk to people and how they come around and give you a good deal." A warning to watch out--and remember that a "good deal" is sometimes to good to be true.

An Albany woman was scammed by the same men in January. She wrote a check for $10.00, but it was altered and cashed for $5,000.00 dollars. Investigators warn you to check carefully the backgrounds of anyone wanting to do work on your home.

Major Smith says the this sect of the Irish Travelers are from North Augusta, South Carolina. They are suspected of crimes in North Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, as well as Southwest Georgia.

Posted at 4:05 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com