Omaha, Nebraska – A woman was recently told she must pay back her bank more than $37,000 after falling prey to an Internet loan scam that targets social media users.
The 32-year-old woman told police she was contacted via Instagram by a woman calling herself “Jackie Coleman.”
The woman was offering loans to people “with active bank accounts,” according to an Omaha Police Department report. Coleman instructed the woman to send her debit card information via UPS to a Chicago address.
On Aug. 18, the victim noticed a check for $37,891.75 had been deposited in her bank account. She also noticed that someone had been charging large purchases against the check. When she contacted the woman and asked for an explanation, she was told it was standard procedure.
The woman told the Omahan that the deposited check should have been written for only $3,789. The woman then asked the Omahan to return the $25,000 left in her account.
“This is just another version of all the other scams where the criminal is trying to get access to your checking account,” said Jim Hegarty, president of the Better Business Bureau representing Nebraska and southwest Iowa. “It’s a fishing expedition that’s trying to snag people who are vulnerable and need the money. Some of them take the bait.”
Hegarty said there are warnings online about this type of scam, which uses social media to contact potential victims.
The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning about this type of scam on July 23. The perpetrator’s goal, the FTC said, is the same as always: get the cash in hand before the bank figures out the checks are phony.
The Omaha woman reported that she decided to keep $10,000, and sent $15,000 to a bank account supplied by the woman who called herself Jackie Coleman. One week later, the Omahan discovered she had a negative balance of $36,351.13 because the deposited check turned out to be counterfeit.
The Omaha woman said her bank’s loss-prevention department informed her that she was responsible for the entire amount of the counterfeit check, according to a police report.
The Omaha woman told police she had only $30 in her bank account when she first was contacted via Instagram.
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