The 79-year-old woman lost her husband in February. Then she opened her bank statement last week to find an unexpected jolt – checks for nearly $300 had been written against her account that she didn’t expect or authorize.
“A young man came to my door, said he was about to graduate from high school, was on a scholarship to go to Europe,” she said.
“He said he was from Salt Lake and needed a little help, and wanted to know if we’d donate 98 cents, but wanted it in a check. I had to write three checks for 98 cents (each).”
Her bank statement showed the checks had been altered to say $98 on each check – and there’s nothing the bank can do, including provide any refund, she said.
“I’m retired, going to be 79 this month. I don’t need this stuff. If I’d only known. He seemed real nice,” the woman said adding, “Not again.
“He told me that (98 cents) would buy a magazine to send to other people overseas who didn’t have anything. That was what it was supposed to be for,” the woman said.
“Many of these companies are from out-of-state,” said Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross. “They’ve become more prevalent as the Internet has become more accessible.”
The woman made the checks out to Dynasty Sales, LLC of Phoenix, Ariz.
The firm was listed on the Internet, including entries under the heading “Ripoff Report.”
One entry said: “(The firm) is now using our warriors overseas to scam you! They state that they are raising points/funds and that you can order magazines for soldiers, sailors, etc. in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. They also tell you that it is tax deductible and state you will get an information card about your GIFT. Yeah right! This more than irritates me!”
“The state and attorney general’s office, feds have officers that handle these kinds of investigations,” the police chief said. “There are literally hundreds of these (scams).
“She’s (fraud victim) right that many times there are only limited things law enforcement can do, due to the sheer distance” from the company’s headquarters, he said.
“If a name is given (by so-called solicitor), it is rarely going to be a correct name. Names tend to be bogus.
“People need to look at any of these types of transactions from a skeptical point of view,” he said. “Either they should get more information or some documentation, something that will make you feel more comfortable, or expect there is a scam.”
In the Bountiful woman’s case, she was shown “paperwork,” she said.
“Three-hundred dollars is a lot for anyone,” Ross said. “I’m glad it’s not $3,000. We see people taken for thousands of dollars. It’s a good community (here), people want to trust. But you have to look at things a little more skeptically.
“That’s not the way it used to be 20 years ago..”