Criminals solicit money from victims through social media

Criminals solicit money from victims through social media

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by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 31 at 4:32 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and the Secret Service put out a warning Tuesday about a disturbing new trend they are seeing.

“We want people to stop falling for it, whether willingly, knowingly or unknowingly, do not give your pin number and debit card number out to people,” said Sgt. Walt Bowling of CMPD Financial Crimes Unit.

Police say that sophisticated groups have come in and are using social media to contact victims to offer loans, or a chance to make a quick buck in exchange for the temporary use of their bank account.

Investigators say there’s a catch: the suspects then deposit forged or stolen checks into the accounts, withdraw cash and the account holder is left with the bill.

“If you part with your information, if you willingly give it out to someone and it’s used for fraudulent means, you’re left holding the bag and depending on the situation. Could be held criminally liable, as well,” said Fraud Investigator Joseph Curlee.

Two of the people police are looking for are Yarral Wilson, 26 and Christopher Moat, 28. Investigators are hoping that someone will spot them and give them a call.

“There are multiple rings. This isn’t something that’s isolated to Charlotte alone. This is actively going on across the country,” said Curlee.

Police say the suspects will often meet victims at fast food restaurants or other places close to their home.

Officers advise that you meet a prospective loan officer at the bank, and say it’s an easy way to tell if they work there.

"There is no reason for a bank to be reaching out through Facebook to talk to them about specific account information, so if you’re contacted in that regard, don't give anybody your personal information," said Curlee.

Police say that the trend began a year ago, and in that time, there have been hundreds of victims and they have lost at least 1 million dollars in Charlotte alone.

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