CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau police are investigating a scam that cost a business thousands of dollars and shattered the life of a woman who found herself at the center of it.
The woman was a store manager who reached out to us with a scam story. She doesn’t want you to see her face, but she does want you to hear her story.
"It’s been a few years since I was even looking forward to Christmas, and this year I was, and that’s gone,” she said.
She’s a single mom who had just started work at a retailer in Cape Girardeau, but on Friday, Dec. 7, management asked her to turn in her keys. It all started earlier that same evening with an unusual phone call from a man claiming to be the company’s chief financial officer.
"What he was saying was, there was an ongoing investigation about counterfeit money, and that our store was going to give them the money they had, and they were going to give back marked bills,” she said.
He kept her on the phone as she went to three stores at his request and bought cash gift cards with the store’s money.
"I had the bank bag to the place that I work in my hand, rubber banded money, okay. The way it came out of the safe, because I thought it was legit. Ok. You don’t do that if you’re hiding. Come on,” she said.
He then asked for the gift card numbers to transfer the money into the store owner’s account, a total of more than $3,000.
"And I gave him the numbers, and then when he told me to tear them up and flush them, that’s when I said wait a minute. If this is a legitimate thing here, what am I doing in a bathroom tearing this stuff, why am I getting rid of this stuff,” she said.
She said that’s when she had a feeling something was wrong.
“He says, ‘okay I’m on my way.’ I said, ‘okay.’ Well, about that time there’s a cop out in the middle of the parking lot kind of, not trying to be inconspicuous or anything like that, because it was obvious he was there. So I got out of the car.”
And then she filed a police report, with hopes to find the scammer and stop this from happening to anyone else.
It’s now in the hands of the Cape Girardeau Police Department Detective Division, and "they’re looking into it to see if it was a local case or a case from another part of a country or if it was even a caller from overseas,” said Sergeant Rick Schmidt with Cape Girardeau police.
He recommended to call your boss or the police if you’re ever in a similar situation to slow it down.
“If it’s not the way your business carries on its business every day, and they want you to do something out of the ordinary, something you’ve never done before, then that should be a flag that says let me double check into this, and I’ll get back to you,” said Sergeant Schmidt.
As the woman told the whole story, even she had a hard time believing it.
"Whether I get my job back or not there’s still things that I still lost. Like how am I ever going to be able to trust my own judgment,” said the woman.