International con artists are now targeting small business owners with a scheme that could add up to big money.
One business owner who fell victim to the scam took action and stopped the criminals from taking advantage of him a second time.
The scheme began with an e-mail order for fliers and business cards sent to a Minuteman Press store.
Everything appeared to be legitimate, then the payment arrived.
"We received a postal money order and it was for more than what it should have been," said Ken Schaeffer, Fraud Victim.
The owner of the store was told that part of the payment was for the printing expenses and the other 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," Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer did that and a few days later checked his bank account. The money order had bounced.
The con artist even sent a second money order and was about to try the same scheme. By then, Schaeffer was on to him.
"In fact, they had the same serial number on the bottom."
Here's how you can avoid falling victim to this scam:
"If it's a postal money order, go to the post office," said Blanca Alvarez, U.S. Postal Inspector. "Ask then to look up the money order and find out if its legitimate."
Schaeffer lost about $800. He urges people to check their bank accounts every few days. If Schaeffer hadn't done that and discovered the money order had bounced, he could have ended up losing even more money.
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