In Which I Get Caught Up In Some Illegal Activity (Part II)

Ken AshfordCrime, Personal2 Comments

Part I here.

Apparently, somewhere in the neighborhood of ten FEDEX packages have been sent out in my name.  This morning alone, I have received three phone calls from people all over the country asking why I sent them a check.  These checks are in the name of South Motors Infiniti (which is the name of a car dealership in Miami, Florida), and are in the amounts of $2500-3000 each.

After speaking with FEDEX's fraud department, my bank's fraud department, and the local FBI (who referred me to the U.S. Secret Service), this much, at least, is clear:

  1. Someone opened a FEDEX account in my name about a week and a half ago.  They had my address, cell phone number AND my debit card number.  When they opened the account, they gave an email address which is NOT mine (The email is in the form of LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME @ YAHOO.COM; I know the name, but I won't share it; FEDEX assumes it is probably fake anyway).
  2. They sent out ten FEDEX packages under "my" FEDEX account to various people throughout the country (some of whom have called me).  According to FEDEX, at least some of the packages came from a FEDEX drop-off box in Daphne, Alabama.  The shipments are charged to me.  (Don't worry – my bank is on top of this now)
  3. According to the Secret Service agent I spoke to, the targets of the scheme are the people who receive these checks.  The perpetrators hope that the recipients will cash or deposit the checks, thereby revealing their bank account numbers.  "My" FEDEX account serves merely to cover their tracks.

It's not clear why the perpetrator or perpetrators chose these particular people as victims.  But the victims I've talked to come from Chicago, South Carolina, Texas, etc. and seemingly have no connection to each other or South Motors Infiniti.  And certainly no connection to me.

Anyway, the lesson of the day is this: If you receive a big check in the mail from someone that you don't know, don't treat it as a windfall and cash it.  You're probably being set up.

Yeah, I know — that's common sense.  But apparently these schemers are counting on enough people not having any.