Law enforcement officers in North and South Carolina are unraveling a complex scam that began with a phony online relationship and racy photographs, and ended with a demand for money to repair a damaged church window. In addition to a fake pastor, the scam also involved a crook masquerading as an agent of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
The phony agent threatened arrests in order to pressure victims into paying $200-400. Victims were asked to send cash via a Green Dot MoneyPak card, a legitimate debit card payment system that is sometimes utilized by criminals. Victims have been identified in several North Carolina counties and as far away as Oklahoma.
When victims of the scam contacted the real SBI agent whose name the scammers used and alerted him to the situation, the SBI began working with their counterparts in South Carolina to find the criminals behind the scheme. One suspect has been arrested, and other arrests may follow. Victims of this scam who have not yet come forward are urged to contact the SBI at 1-800-334-3000.
If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.