‘I’m going to try to catch this guy’: Randolph County woman thwarts scammer

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- Hazel Oxendine spotted a scam and went after them after she got an interview request for a job. The job interview came after she started looking for work on the website Upworks, a place to find freelance work online.

"I decided to take it upon myself to do a little investigation," Oxendine said Friday. "I'm going to try to catch this guy."

The scammer, who identified himself as Sergio Thomas online, told her he would send her a check to buy a computer and supplies for a "work-at-home" job. Oxendine says she knew it was a scam when Thomas asked her to cash the check and deposit it into another account. She played along to try and get as much information as she could, including a fake check written out from a lumber company in Georgia for $3,800.

"He thinks he's just going to get $3,800 dollars from me," she said. "Not from me."

The man, who identified himself as Thomas, spoke with a foreign accent and called from a Florida telephone number.

Oxendine, already in talks with investigators and the state attorney general's office, got enough information to turn over to authorities. Now she can get back to looking for a job.

"I've learned I'm going to stick to a temp agency or go out on my own to find a job," she said.

Upworks says on its site when looking for a job on their site never accept money outside of the website. All legitimate freelance jobs will be paid through Upworks.

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