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Local thwarts scam attempt
FBI reports on new scam making rounds
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As the FBI reports a new scam spreading through the country, a Riceboro woman reports she was approached, but didn’t fall for an well-worn scheme.
“He didn’t have a fool on the line,” Mary Robinson reported Wednesday, after being called by someone who purported to be from Publishers Clearinghouse.
The caller told Robinson she had won $150,000 in the annual drawing, but that she needed to send $150 to him to collect the prize.
“He wanted me to send the money to Jamiaca, so I knew it was a scam then,” she said.
She did, however, try to lead the caller on, telling him she had wired the money and giving a fake transmission number.
“I played him some, trying to get as much information as possible so I could give it to police,” Robinson said.
She also said she was trying to get information out so others may not fall victim to criminals.

New scam

The new scam, reported Wednesday by  David A. Thomas, special agent in charge of the FBI in South Carolina, is being perpetrated on prospective renters using Craigslist.  
Homeowners list their homes for sale with real estate agencies that end up getting the information on the Internet. The scammers then pull the information and photos off those sites and post it on Craigslist under available housing rentals, without the consent or knowledge of Craigslist.
Thomas said the company has been notified of the program.
After the posting is listed, unsuspecting individuals contact the poster, who says he is Nigerian. The scammer will say he had to leave the country quickly to do missionary or contract work in Africa and was unable to rent his house before leaving. The “homeowner” sends the prospective renter an application and tells them to send the first and last month’s rent via Western Union.  The prospective renter is further told if they “qualify,” he “owner” will send the keys.  Once the money is wired, the renter shows up at the house, sees the home is actually for sale and is unable to access the property, and the money is gone.
This type of scam is becoming prevalent nationwide, Thomas said.
The agent asks that individuals who have similar complaints to file an internet crime complaint on www.ic3.gov with the FBI to ensure the extent of this scheme can be accurately evaluated.
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