Lee woman too smart for scam artists. Are you? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee woman too smart for scam artists. Are you?

July 6, 2007

Lee County - - A scam alert investigators say you need to know about. International fraud schemes are targeting people in South Georgia. A Lee County woman almost found herself a victim, until she realized she was being scammed. Officers say it can happen to you and if you're not alert, you might not be so lucky.

Carla Miller put an ad on the Internet to sell her dog for $350. She got over 20 responses. One came from the United Kingdom.

"I saw your ad about the pet you're willing to sell. I would love to be in the purchase of my daughter Chantel who will be clocking 12 years old next month," Miller reads one of the responses.

Not only did the language throw her off, so did a request from the potential buyer. He wanted to send her $3000 the $350 dog and he wanted Miller to send him the change.

"He emailed me the numbers for the wire tracking, gave me all the information for the recipient of the funds and told me just to send the difference and keep $100 for my trouble."

Miller knew what was going on but she played smart and told the buyer to send the money. Then she took it right to sheriff's deputies.

"How many people from Europe are going to buy a puppy to ship across the Atlantic? It doesn't even make good sense," says Investigator Craig Dodd with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.

Dodd says this is a case of blatant fraud. But if you're not alert, you may never know. The $3000 in money orders Miller received looks real.

"It looks extremely real and they're excellent forgeries," he says.

Had she cashed them, she would've been out of money with her bank. Dodd says be suspicious of any offers made over the Internet and he says be careful about giving your debit or credit card info and never, he says, give out your bank account or social security numbers unless you know for sure who it's going to.

"It's the fastest growing crime in the country and once they have one of those numbers, they can go into anything you've got."

Miller's glad she didn't fall for it.

"Not the response you were looking for?" we asked her.

"No, it's not what I expected. I just wanted to sell my dog."

After all this, she's still looking for a legitimate buyer. 

When Miller got the money orders, she called the company that made them and they were able to confirm that they were fakes. The case is being turned over to the FBI.

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