Fort McCoy News April 10, 2015

Officials: Scammers using McCoy addresses in sales

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Fort McCoy, Wis., has issued an alert about the recent use of Fort McCoy addresses in fraudulent Craigslist and eBay sales.

Recent crime reports have revealed a sales fraud scheme using the address of the Fort McCoy Post Office in which the seller claims to be a U.S. Army Soldier stationed on Fort McCoy (Senior Medic Sgt. 1st Class Monica Pearson). The scheme may use other addresses outside Fort McCoy and other fraudulent identities as the techniques used can easily be adapted.

Fort McCoy military law-enforcement agencies have indicated that scammers pretending to be Soldiers stationed on Fort McCoy have posted ads on Craigslist.org featuring vehicles for sale. They claim they are preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan and must sell the vehicle quickly.

When the victims attempt to call the phone number listed, they are informed the "seller" is in training and only can be contacted through email. They then are referred to one of numerous email accounts (beth.mickel77@gmail.com, monica.pearson33@gmail.com, debbie.laidlaw@gmail.com, row.talbott@gmail.com, tya1983bsn@gmail.com).

After exchanging up to 40 personalized emails discussing the vehicle, the scammers then send the victim a convincing link to a fictitious eBay Internet page. The fictitious eBay page claims the purchaser has to send the verification numbers from prepaid Reloadit cards to the scammer's email address to pay for the item.

The use of the eBay page is an attempt to make the victim feel more at ease with the process, as eBay is often regarded as a safe conduit to purchase items.

However, the vehicles for sale were not real, and the purchaser never received anything for their loss. If the purchaser asks to view the vehicle in person, the communication is immediately ceased.

Scammers are using the Reloadit cards because they are easily accessible at gas stations and convenience stores across the United States and are easily purchased with cash. The scammers create an online account at reloadit.com and then can transfer the money on the prepaid cards into any number of online accounts or prepaid debit cards.

Victims have stated that less than two hours after they provide the verification numbers of their Reloadit cards to the scammers, the funds have been withdrawn from the cards.

Victims from Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Illinois have reported purchasing and forwarding the information from the cards to the scammers. Current reported loss is about $10,000.

All personnel are encouraged to identify and educate themselves in reference to the incidents mentioned above. If possible, personnel are highly encouraged to physically view anything purchased through online means before making payment. All personnel are encouraged to contact their local law-enforcement agencies if they feel they were victims of these fraudulent eBay or Craigslist ads claiming to be selling high-value items, especially vehicles, from Fort McCoy.

Anyone who believes they are a victim of the scammers listed in the description above should file a complaint with the Internet Crimes Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx.

All personnel purchasing items through Internet sites are highly encouraged to visit http://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx for the most up-to-date information on Internet crime schemes.

   (Prepared by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.)