Police: Kirkwood Newspaper Scam Has Foreign Ties

Police release details about an employment scam that conned a Kirkwood resident out of more than $2,000.

The following statement was released by the on Friday.

On April 11, Kirkwood police received a report from a Kirkwood resident who had fallen victim to a money scam.

The resident responded to a classified job advertisement in the weekly Webster-Kirkwood Times Newspaper. The ad ran during the week of March 16-22. The ad was titled “Personal Assistant” and advertised weekly payments of up to $800/week.

The victim responded to the classified ad via an email address and was then referred to a third party. The third party hired her as an assistant. Her first task as an employee was to cash two checks which were sent to her via mail. The checks were each in the amount of $2,450.

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The victim was instructed to keep 10 percent of the check as payment and wire the remaining funds back to the employer. The victim cashed the first check and wired the money only to find out a few days later the check was fraudulent.  Luckily the victim’s bank held payment on the second check which also turned out to be fraudulent. The victim lost $2,450 as a result of the scam.  

Through investigation, the prospective employer was found to have used an address in Rolla, MO, the money was wired to an address in Baltimore, MD, and the IP address used by the suspects was from outside the U.S.

What to Do

The Kirkwood Police Department is asking everyone to research any prospective employers prior to seeking employment through a classified ad.

Job applicants should seek out references on the employer and perform internet searches as to the validity of the business. Request multiple contact avenues for the business other than just an email address and be skeptical about any employer who asks a new employee for money as part of their employment.  Most scams involve the wiring of money. 

Citizens are reminded the scams work by suspects manufacturing and sending fraudulent checks to unsuspecting victims in the hopes the checks will be cashed and the money then wired back to them.

If anyone receives a check in the mail from a prospective employer or from an unknown party, they can contact their local police department or financial institution as to the validity of the check. This should be done prior to forwarding any monetary proceeds from the check via a wire. 

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