October 22, 2008

SIUC police issue warning about scam

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Public Safety is warning the community about a scam that appeared in a recent newspaper classified advertisement.

Police Sgt. David Stewart said an SIUC student lost more than $2,000 after he responded to a classified advertisement that read: “My name is Debbie Mann with OWO Trading Store. Cashiers and receptionists are needed urgently.” The ad included an e-mail address to respond to.

The student responded to the advertisement and received a Nigerian money-gram in return. The student cashed the money-gram at a local bank, then forwarded the funds in a money-gram to an individual in Nigeria as directed, Stewart said.

The local bank cashed the money-gram. The bank subsequently determined the check is worthless, and the student is responsible to the bank for the money he sent to Nigeria, Stewart said.

The Daily Egyptian student newspaper published the classified advertisement from Sept. 25 through Oct. 17. The advertisement no longer appears in the paper, Stewart said.

“Don’t respond to anything like this,” Stewart said. “If you receive a request to cash a check and send back money, don’t respond because the requests are hoaxes. The money-gram you receive is not worth the paper it is printed on.”

Anyone who is a victim of the hoax should contact the SIUC Department of Public Safety at 618/453-3771.