SHERMAN, Tex. -- Sherman police are investigating a possible ad scam targeting local people. Police say it starts when victims place classified ads in the newspaper trying to sell an item.
That's when the victim receives a Telex deaf-service call from someone wanting to buy the item. After the transaction, the victim receives a money order in the mail for more than the item's cost with a letter attached stating that the extra funds are to cover the conversion from foreign funds.
The victim is also instructed to return the left over money to the scammer, but police say that if the victim does cash the check or money order, they can be charged with a felony.
Leslie Hillburn is one woman who has been targeted by these scammers. In fact, Hillburn hasn't been contacted just once but three times in the last three days.
"When I e-mailed the pictures to them, they responded back pretty quick and they even went as far as picking out a sex of the puppy they wanted," she says.
The calls started after Hillburn placed an ad for puppies she has for sale. Hillburn says the scammers contacted her through a hearing impaired phone service.
"And that they would send me a cashier’s check and they'd compensate me a hundred extra dollars to cash the check, keep my portion of it, and then mail the remainder of the check to another address."
She says she was happy to get such a quick response to her ads but she soon realized that this was too good to be true.
"At first I was excited, I thought you know, the puppies are getting done on the Internet and when I received this it was a disappointment,. I kinda noticed when it was in my bulk and not my inbox, I thought okay, something isn't right," Hillburn says.
Sherman Police say the scammers are using the hearing impaired system to conceal their identities.
"They're calling to a central operator using the TTY system and then that operator is making the call. That way, there's no connection between them and the caller or anything else," Sherman Police Sgt. Bruce Dawsey says.
Police say that if you place a classified ad and someone contacts you, be cautious. Be suspicious if the buyer wants to buy without seeing the item first. Police also say you should think twice about cashing a money order -- especially if it's from another country.