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Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office: Scammers targeting businesses in Wagoner County

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Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott wants to make the business owners of Wagoner County and others aware of a scam that is being used to obtain property fraudulently.

Sheriff Elliott explained that a customer will comes into a business and present the products they want to buy at checkout and provide a credit or debit card. The transaction gets denied. The customer will then step away, and appear to be talking to the bank. When they return with an authorization code, the clerk inputs the information and the sale is authorized. It isn’t until a few weeks later when businesses try to settle with the card issuer when they learn they’ve been duped.

According to the sheriff’s office, any code will work. It is a technical limitation of the forced transaction which allows the scammer to exploit the system.

One incident happened on Sunday, May 1, 2022 in the early afternoon. Wagoner County Deputy W. Seig was dispatched to the 9800 Block of South 235th East Avenue in the Broken Arrow area to investigate a fraudulent transaction at a local business. When Deputy Seig arrived, he met the employee who stated that two adult males came into the store on Friday, April 29 and attempted to purchase two trailers for $12,420. The two adult males arrived at this business in a rented U-Haul truck and provided their identification to staff members, deputies said.

The original transaction was conducted with a debit MasterCard that one of the two suspects provided, deputies said. After the credit card was declined, the suspect stated he has his card set up to decline every transaction and will receive an approval code from his bank so the operator of the Point Of Sales terminal can input the code and authorize the transaction.

Meanwhile, a second suspect could be seen in the background typing on his cell phone throughout the transaction. Each time the victim would ask for information, the second suspect can be seen talking to the first suspect and telling him what to say.

Within a few moments, a text message arrived on one of the suspect’s cell phones showing an authorization code. It appeared to be legitimate information from a lending institution, complete with images of the bank name and official-looking legal wording, Sheriff Elliott said.

The victim input the code into the POS machine and an authorization was granted. After the approval was granted, the victim was still uncertain about the certain type of transaction. When suspect #1 and suspect #2 were being assisted by an employee, the victim at the business typed in Google, “FORCED SALE” to see if it was legitimate.

As a result of this search, the victim found that type of transaction is most common among scammers for fraudulent purposes.

“It is important to be very vigilant when dealing with scammers that attempt to obtain property by fraud,” said Sheriff Chris Elliott, Wagoner County Sheriff.

At that point, the victim emailed his risk management contact and his vendor about the transaction. Within minutes, he received confirmation from risk management and the vendor confirming that it was a fraudulent transaction. The victim told suspect #1 and suspect #2 that he would need to wait until he received authorization from the victim’s bank before delivering the property. Suspect #1 and suspect #2 agreed to wait, and left the business. It was discovered that the address provided by suspect #1 was an abandoned home.

Upon discovering this, they contacted the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office to file a report. The sheriff’s office warns: If you own a business and have this issue arise, be cautious. It may prevent you from being a victim of a scammer.

A warrant request was submitted to the Wagoner County District Attorney’s office for review. When warrants are issued, deputies will attempt to take the suspects into custody for their actions.


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