LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- International con artists are now targeting small business owners with a scam that could add up to big money. In this Rip-Off Alert, we reveal the scenario which is actually an easy one to spot.
This scam began with an e-mail order for fliers and business cards sent to a minuteman press store.
"Everything appeared to be legitimate," said victim Ken Schaeffer.
Then the payment arrived.
"We received a postal money order, and it was for more than what it should have been," Schaeffer said.
Part of the payment was for the printing expenses, owner Steve Schaefer was told. The other part was for business expenses for the person picking up the order.
"He asked us to go to the bank, deposit it, and if we could please take what was left and send the balance to his partner," Ken Schaeffer said.
Schaefer did that and a few days later checked his bank account. The money order had bounced.
"A wonderful scammer, par excellence," Ken Schaeffer said.
In fact, the con man even sent a second money order and was about to try the same scam. But, by then, Schaeffer was on to him. "In fact, they had the same serial number on the bottom," he said.
To avoid being a victim of this scam, U.S. Postal Inspector Blanca Alvarez has this advice: "If it's a postal money order, go to the Post Office. Ask then to look up the money order and find out if it’s legitimate."
Schaeffer lost about $800. His advice: Check your bank account every few days. If Schaeffer hadn't done that and discovered the money order had bounced, he could have lost even more money.
"You feel violated. You feel taken advantage of,” he said. “You're saying, ‘Gosh, I should have known better.’ “