While away at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference in Las Vegas, Webb was contacted by the Sun Sentinel and asked for an interview. She was featured in the following article.
November 9, 2012|By Ed Komenda, Sun Sentinel
If you’re an online merchant, beware the hefty check.
It usually comes in the mail, made out for much more than the items you’re selling – but authorities say it’s likely a sign of the “reverse sell,” a common check fraud scam running rampant in South Florida.
Angela Martinez, of Hinesville, Ga., learned the hard way when she got an email about some baby items she posted to craigslist.org. She wanted $400 for the stuff, but a mysterious buyer sent her a check for $2,110 and requested Martinez send back a money order worth the balance.
She did – and immediately regretted it when the check didn’t clear. Police have since arrested a Boca Raton woman for conning Martinez out of more than $1,500. Rosaitzel Mendoza, 22, now stands charged with fraud and grand theft.
According to a Boca Raton Police report, the investigation began on Oct. 24, when a detective got a call from police in Georgia. Martinez, 28, had called the department in September and reported a fraud.
On Aug. 30, someone named Samuel Kane emailed Martinez about items she posted to Craigslist for $400. Martinez exchanged several emails with Kane, who was interested in striking a deal.
Then, a check showed up in the mail. It was drawn to the tune of $2,110.
“She was told to deposit the check into her account and then send the remaining balance to Rosaitzel Mendez,” an officer wrote in the report.
On Aug. 30, Martinez granted Kane’s request and sent “Mendez” a money order for the balance of $1,710. Kane then told Martinez movers would show up to her house and pick up the baby items. Kane then changed his mind and told her to send the items to and address in Ohio.
Suspicious, Martinez canceled the transaction.
She became more suspicious when the check didn’t clear and her bank siphoned $1,710 from her account. She called police, suspecting that she’d been scammed.
Police in Georgia had subpoenaed information regarding the money order and discovered Mendoza cashed it at a Mr. Beverage in Boca Raton the same day Martinez sent it. She walked out of Mr. Beverage with $1,595 cash.
On Oct. 31, Boca Raton detectives contacted Mr. Beverage owner, Omar Kadri. He said the woman who cashed Martinez’s money order visited his store often to pick up other money orders. In earlier conversations with him, Mendoza said she worked for a furniture company.
Kadri didn’t know the woman’s full name, but when detectives showed him a photo line-up including Mendoza’s picture, he didn’t hesitate.
“That’s her,” he said.
Detectives arrested Mendoza a week later.
Fraud experts say the “reverse sell” became more popular as the economy began to struggle.
“Fraudsters pull people’s heartstrings,” said Linda Webb, president, Contego Services Group, LLC, a provider of insurance and risk management services. She’s known as the “Fraud Dog” to colleagues. “People fall for these scams out of necessity. They get excited about cashing the check, because they need the money.”
Webb advised that people who receive checks from buyers should request social security numbers to verify the checks, or take pictures of the check to verify them with law enforcement.
But most importantly, if you decide to take the check to the bank, Webb said don’t touch the cash: “Wait for the checks to clear,” she said.
The article can be found at: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-11-09/news/fl-boca-check-scams-20121108_1_check-scam-boca-raton-police-boca-woman#.UKAB3jkTpd4.mailto