Phone scam targets North Belle Vernon 7-Eleven
A North Belle Vernon business lost more than $1,000 following a sophisticated phone scam.
North Belle Vernon police are investigating the scam, which was phoned into the 7-Eleven convenience store on Fayette Avenue last week.
Clerk Erin Cooper told police that at approximately 11:30 p.m. Aug. 28, she received a phone call from a man claiming to be from the corporate office, giving her the store's identification number.
He spoke with an accent, but spoke “good English,” Cooper told police.
The caller told Cooper that required sales tax was not being added to purchases made with credit and debit cards.
Police said the man instructed Cooper to ring up and cash out a cigarette lighter. The manthen provided her with the receipt's transaction number, further proving to the clerk the call was legitamit.
Cooper told police she loaded a pre-paid debit card with $499.99, and gave the caller the Personal Identification Number at his instruction.
The man then told her there was an error, and code and asked her to load another $499.99 pre-paid card. She again gave him the PIN number, police said.
Cooper became suspicious after the caller said there was another error and he needed her to activate two more pre-paid cards.
The clerk said she needed to call her manager before activating two more cards.
That's when the man immediately hung up, Cooper told police.
She told police she received a phone call from In-Comm, the company that manages the pre-paid debit cards, to verify the two debit card transactions because the balances on both of the cards activated by Cooper were immediately transferred to another card.
“That was when she realized the guy wasn't who he said he was,” police Chief Jim Bedsworth said.
In-Comm advised Cooper that she provided the man the PIN numbers, which allowed the balances to be transferred. She was then advised to contact police.
“Whether it was a matter of their computers being hacked or someone going in and getting a transaction number just before the ones he gave the clerk, who knows,” Bedsworth said, adding that he thinks the scam originated beyond U.S. borders. “Something happened, though, for him to have that information. We're looking into it.”
The store's loss in the incident totaled $1,007.88, which included the amounts loaded on to the cards and their $3.95 retail price, police said.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2667.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Retail theft suspect takes off, leaves baby at Rostraver Township Walmart
- Dedicated California educator Hasbrouck dead at 62
- Fallowfield plans meeting to reveal results of studies
- Couple puts faith in new Sutersville antiques store
- Distance runners generated interest in Charleroi race long ago
- Runners get set for Charleroi’s Little Great Race
- Artists paint the town in anticipation of annual Monessen exhibit
- Valley men accused of burglary in Charleroi
- Stockdale fire, N. Charleroi crash keep emergency personnel hopping
- Anticipation sky high for Rostraver remote-control air show
- Ringgold teachers OK four-year deal