Davidson County woman warns of ‘secret shopping’ job scam

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ARCADIA, N.C. -- A Davidson County woman is warning other people in our area to beware of a “secret shopping” job offer in the mail.

Cheritha Huffman received a letter last week with a check for nearly $4,000. She thought it was a legitimate job offer. When she called the number on the letter, a man instructed her to cash the check and withdraw the money as soon as it cleared.

“He was very convincing,” Huffman told FOX8 in tears. “I wanted to go have my teeth fixed and pay off some bills. I take care of my kids and grandkids, and I’m on disability.”

The man first directed Huffman to look for a certain brand of gift card at Office Depot. Later he told her to go to Walmart and send two MoneyGrams to two different people in two different states, each for about $1,500.

The bank later informed her the check she cashed was fake. “Wells Fargo had put my account on hold, told me it was a fraudulent check.”

Huffman is now responsible for paying the bank back that money.

“I have to buy medicine. I have to help my kids with my grandchildren. I have to pay bills to live. And that's my only money I have. I don't know how people can do people like this.”

Brian Wright with the Better Business Bureau of NW North Carolina says this is one of the most common types of scams they hear about.

“If someone asks you to pay money after receiving a check, it’s a big red flag,” he said. “Imagine getting $10,000. It's really exciting. But too often we get our emotions caught up and make a bad decision. So make sure you do your research,” Wright added.

Wright said the BBB’s Scam Tracker shows about 500 similar scams reported in the U.S. already this year, at least 45 in the Triad area.

Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to track these scammers down.

“I want people to really know- don't do this. To be cautious,” warned Huffman.

Wells Fargo confirmed to FOX8 that customers are responsible and liable for anything they deposit into their accounts. That information is outlined in the disclosures customers sign when they open accounts.

Wells Fargo information about avoiding scams:
https://www.wellsfargo.com/privacy-security/fraud/

Money Gram warnings about common consumer scams:
http://corporate.moneygram.com/compliance/fraud-prevention/common-consumer-scams