TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Phone scam targets North Belle Vernon 7-Eleven

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 12:36 a.m.
 

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 jsellew@tribweb.com or 724-684-2667.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Mon Valley

  1. 7 Up distributed from two Charleroi sites
  2. Director opposes increased cost of Ringgold project
  3. N. Belle Vernon man jailed after police station visit
  4. Monessen police, family looking for 17-year-old girl
  5. Monessen residents angry about blight
  6. 2 men nabbed in Donora drug sting
  7. House fire claims life of Monongahela man
  8. Watch out for computer scams, identifty theft
  9. Belle Vernon girl tops in cyber charter school class
  10. Ramp helps wheelchair users enjoy activities on waterway in Marianna
  11. Mishandled ashes buried in Charleroi Cemetery