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Deputy investigates new scam in Wagoner County

05/12/2022

Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott wants to make the business owners Wagoner County and others of a scam that is being used in the area to obtain property fraudulently.  It is important to be very vigilant when dealing with scammers that attempt obtain property by fraud.  In a nutshell, a customer comes into a business and presents the product(s) he/she wants to buy at checkout and provides a credit or debit card.  The transaction gets denied.  Customer steps away and appears to be talking to the bank, returns with an authorization code, clerk inputs the information and the sale is authorized.  Customer leaves with the merchandise and it isn't until a few weeks later when business tries to settle with the card issuer that business learns they have been duped.  Fact is that any code will work.  It is a technical limitation of the forced transaction which allows the scammer to exploit the system.

On Sunday May 01, 2022, at 1230 hours 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 that had occurred.  Upon arrival Deputy Sieg met with the victim at a Wagoner County business.  The victim stated two adult males came into the business on Friday, April 29th and attempted to purchase two trailers for a total amount of $12,420.  The two adult males arrived at this business location in a rented U-Haul truck and provided their identification to staff members.

The original transaction was conducted with a debit MasterCard that one of the two suspects provided.  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, telling him what too say. 

Within a few moments a text message arrived on suspect #1's phone showing an authorization code and what appeared to be legitimate information from a lending institution, complete with images of the bank name and official looking legal wording.  The victim input the code into the POS machine and an authorization was granted.  After the approval was granted, victim who was still uncertain about this type of transaction was becoming more uncomfortable and began to feel like something wasn't right.  When suspect #1 and suspect #2 were being assisted by an employee, the victim at the business began to Google "FORCED SALE" to see if it was legit. 

As a result of this search, victim found this type of transaction is most common among scammers for fraudulent purposes.  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 vendor that this was a fraudulent transaction.  The victim told suspect #1 and suspect #2 that he would need to wait until he received authorization from 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.  Remember if you own a business and have this issue arise be cautious.  This 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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