Contact 2 responds to scammer targeting Illinois business owner

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FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, IL (KTVI) - Fairview Heights resident Katherine Johnson owns To the Rescue CPR. She recently received a text message she thought would lead to new clients.

The man, who told Katherine his name was Kevin, said he wanted to send her 10 students. Those students would be coming from 30 miles away. She says his plan to get the group to Fairview Heights was the first red flag.

“When he said he was hiring a driver and the driver was going to cost $2,500, I’m thinking I’ll go pick them up for that because that’s not what I get for CPR!” Johnson said.

The text messages continued and Katherine discovered more red flags. The man sent credit card information with a Texas billing zip code.

“He wants me to run not only my fees, but the fee for the driver as well through the credit card. Keep the fee for myself, and then deposit $2,500 into this drivers account so he can reserve a bus to bring the ten students to me,” Johnson said.

This is an interesting twist on what appears to be a money transfer scam. You see, there aren’t any students and no bus to reserve. Armed with what’s likely stolen credit card information, it seems the man wanted to use Katherine to commit fraud. The money in her account could’ve also been in jeopardy. The Federal Trade Commission warns about scams like this.

“If you’ve ever asked to wire money to someone you don’t know it’s likely a scam. Stop. Think and make sure the person you think you’re sending money to is someone legitimate,” said a Federal Trade Commission spokesperson.

Katherine didn’t fall for the scam, but with text messages from the man still rolling in, it was time for us to have some fun.

Fox 2's Mike Colombo took Katherine’s phone and sent the man a message. No surprise, he never responded; but he never sent Katherine another message.

While this scammer went away, the Contact 2 team knows it won't be long before we’re reporting on some other variation of this scheme. In addition to not falling for it, Katherine did the right thing and filed a police report.

You can find more information about how to protect yourself from scams like this by following these links:

consumer.FTC.gov
FBI.gov