MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace warned residents of a scam recently reported to the sheriff's office.
Scam artists are running classified advertisements in local newspapers in which they are allegedly looking for a personal assistant.
When prospective victims respond to the ad, the scam artists get basic information from them and then begin to communicate with them via email and/or telephone. Eventually, the scam artists will send a package to the victim containing U.S. postal money orders for an amount above what they have agreed to accept for a wage or payment. The prospective victim is instructed to deposit the money order(s) and send the balance via Western Union to a specified address.
This is always a scam. The money orders are counterfeit and the real money the victim is told to send to the scam artist via Western Union is untraceable.
No matter what variation of this scam is sued, do not fall prey to it. Some definite indicators an offer is a scam include:
U.S. postal money orders or bank checks for an amount more than the purchase price, wage or other payment amount. Many of these money orders are pre-printed for amounts between $700 and $1,000, though other amounts are possible;
Instructions to wire money to someone, many times the difference between the overpayment and what was agreed to by telephone or email;
Urgency is usually involved as the scammers want the victim to act before they think or investigate;
Emails are sent that may contain header information from foreign countries. Examine the emails carefully. Those not familiar with the process should ask an expert how to view the header information;
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.