Scam Artist Uses Southeast Missouri Business to Steal from Sellers on the Internet
April 21, 2005 at 8:17 PM CDT - Updated July 11 at 1:45 AM
Scam Artist Uses Southeast Missouri Business to Steal from Sellers on the Internet By: Amy Jacquin
A scam artist is using a Southeast Missouri business, using fake checks to buy thousands of dollars in merchandise.
Mouser Steel believes someone is stalking sellers on Ebay, and getting away with fraud.
Angie Mouser and her husband own Mouser Steel in Patton. She uses Ebay to sell a few trailers. Recently, a buyer agreed to an electronic funds transfer, which Angie has done before. But then he said something that raised a red flag.
"Also, he said he'd make all the shipping arrangmenets," she explained. "But he wanted me to pay for it. He'd give me the extra money when he'd pay for the trailer, and me actually pay for the arrangements. I said no."
It was a high-tech twist to an old scam... and she never heard from the buyer again. Until the scam artist started using the Mouser Steel name and wire transfer number to steal from others.
"I started getting calls from people all over the United States!" says Angie. "Then the bank called and said they had a $4,000 draft!"
An alert bank employee noticed Angie's last name was wrong, saving Mouser from losing any money.
"And one of the things I was being smart on, that I didn't even realize I was being smart about, was I didn't give him my full name," Angie smiles.
But Angie has a file full of attempts... made with businesses across the country. And some of their banks did pay. They were all sellers on Ebay, who believed the scam artist's story.
"He said, well I have a friend in Missouri that owes me $2,000, so I'll just have them send you a check directly, and then you just send me the balance," Angie explains.
Angie gets a rock in the pit of her stomach when she thinks of Mouser's name being used to scam people out of money.
"These are individuals I'm sure it's going to hurt when they get it back," she says.
Angie is now much more cautious about using a wire transfer... but says she can't let the experience scare her away from internet sales.
She reported the scam to the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department. But since it crosses state lines, they're turning it over to the FBI.