Small business owner targeted in scam

Published On: Mar 26 2013 04:11:13 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 27 2013 07:20:00 AM EDT

International con artists are now targeting small business owners that could add up to big money.  The good news is, it's actually an easy one to spot.

This particular scam began win an email order for fliers and business cards, sent to a Minuteman Press store.

“Everything appeared to be legitimate,” said scam victim, Ken Schaeffer.

Then the payment arrived.

“We received a postal money order and it was for more than what it should have been,” he said.

The owner was told that part of the payment was for the printing expenses, and the other was for business expenses for the person picking up the order.

“He asked us to go to the bank, deposit it, and if we could please take what was left and send the balance to his partner,” said Schaeffer.

Schaeffer did that and a few days later, checked his bank account.  The money order had bounced.

“A wonderful scammer, par excellence,” said Schaeffer.

In fact, the con man even sent a second money order and was about to try the same scam.  But by then, Schaeffer was on to him.

“In fact, they had the same serial number on the bottom,” he explained.

How do you avoid becoming a victim of this scam?

“If it’s a postal money order, go to the post office. Ask then to look up the money order and find out if its legitimate,” said US Postal Inspector Blanca Alvarez.

“You feel violated. You feel taken advantage of. You’re saying, gosh I should have known better,” said Schaeffer.

In all, Schaefer lost about $800.  His advice, check your bank account every few days.  If Schaeffer hadn't done that and discovered the money order had bounced, he could have ended up losing even more money.