Posted by By Norman Miller / Daily News Staff on
A Framingham woman recently befriended a man from Nigeria through electronic mail exchanges.
FRAMINGHAM -- A Framingham woman recently befriended a man from Nigeria through electronic mail exchanges.
They became friendly, and then he asked her to do him a favor. He sent her seven $1,000 money orders from Wal-Mart, claiming he could not cash them in Nigeria.
He asked her to deposit the money orders in her bank account, and then send him a money order for less. She was told she could keep the rest of the money. The woman, who was not identified, became suspicious, and she went to the police.
That decision, says Framingham Police Lt. Vincent Alfano, saved the woman a lot of money, because it was all a scam.
"If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't (true)," said Alfano. "It's most likely happening to other people in the area. We need them to know about it so they don't get taken in."
According to a Web site that specializes in scams, the tactic is a typical version of the Nigerian scam where an official or rich Nigerian e-mails, requesting help to get money into his or her own account -- promising huge sums in return for that help.
In the newer scheme, they befriend someone and send that person money orders from Wal-Mart. The person then sends money orders back. When Wal-Mart does not accept the money orders, the person is out the money.
Wal-Mart spokesman Marty Heires said stores can recognize counterfeit money orders because of a heat sensitive patch on the piece of paper.
"It's happening everywhere right now," said Heires. "They copied our logo. It's a pretty high-level photocopy. They're resourceful people."
The recent incident was not the first time counterfeit money orders have appeared in Framingham, Alfano said.
Last week, a person went into the Framingham Wal-Mart and attempted to cash a $3,500 money order. The service desk employee didn't accept it, and gave the money order back to the person, who left the store.
Wal-Mart does not issue money orders for more than $1,000.
Wal-Mart officials told police they have received numerous calls from people asking about cashing the money orders.
Alfano said it is unknown how many people have received the money orders.
"A lot of times, they don't report it, but more and more people are starting to report it," Alfano said.
Someone who receives a money order in the mail should contact the store to find out if it is legitimate. If not, they should report it to police, Alfano said.
(Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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