Moultrie Police warn of Nigerian Internet scams - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Moultrie Police warn of Nigerian Internet scams

MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) -

A warning from police in Moultrie after two men there got caught up in international Internet scams.

Both men ended up in jail. Not before police say they made big bucks for themselves and scammers in Nigeria.

Likely a parent or grandparent told you nothing comes for free and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Two south Georgia men learned the hard way what they did in the name of love, landed them in jail.

For Moultrie Police investigators trying to track down who's behind a Nigerian Internet scam is like searching for a ghost online.

"The person you're talking to on a web site if not necessarily who you're conversing with on the computer because you never see them," Sgt. Stephen Stratman, Moultrie Police.

The net cast by investigators caught two south Georgia men, 57 year old Steven Edmonson and 69 year old James Wood. Police say Edmonson of Valdosta met a woman online who convinced him to receive TV's and other valuables from Walmart that were ordered using stolen credit card numbers.

"He was to sell the articles on the street for whatever value, keep a portion of it for himself, and send the rest of the money to Nigeria. Eventually he admitted he'd been doing this over a two year period," said Stratman.

Wood met a woman on an Atlanta Internet dating site, who convinced him, she was from England, trying to attend school in North Dakota and needed help getting a check cashed for the rent. Part of the money was sent back to Moultrie via Western Union to Wood, who posed as a travel agent. Police say he made thousands.

"He turned around at least another five thousand dollars in the preceding days after the initial transaction we were investigating so he turned around between six to eight thousand dollars in at least 15 days," said Stratman.

He then wired money to Nigeria to complete the scam. Police say anytime a scheme involves turning money around for someone you don't know you should be wary.

"It appears they're picking on older gentlemen and it's usually a younger type female in the last two incidents where we made arrests so I don't know whether it's done for love or what but obviously if you're turning this money around and taking a percentage for yourself you should realize at some point it's not right," said Stratman.

It's likely these online women, weren't even who they said they were. The FBI and Secret Service are investigating but police say you've got to protect yourself.

"It's happening, it's happening all the time and you've got to be careful," said Inv. Dave Underwood, Moultrie Police.

Instead of finding love, these two men found nothing but trouble and a lengthy court process ahead.

Both men face identity fraud and Edmonson will face credit card fraud charges.

Moultrie Police say they've gotten several phone calls recently from people who got e-mails about Nigerian turn around scams. They say you should just delete the emails and not respond. You can call your local police department if you want to report suspicious activity.

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