CREATED May. 1, 2013
Omaha, NE - A warning to anyone who has ever made a post online, scam artist are watching. Police say in a tangled web of identity theft, an online investigation led Bellevue Police detectives all the way to Hong Kong.
What started as a simple post to Craigslist led police on a world wide hunt for a scam artist. Detectives are not releasing the name of the Bellevue man who posted the ad, because he may not even know he's a target.
He posted an ad looking for a roommate and because of that post, scam artist gathered personal information about the Bellevue man. Through Craigslist, the man asked potential roommates to send him a check to prove they're real. An online fisher from China saw the post and responded, only the scam artist was posing as a woman from Colorado. The scammer then stole a Colorado woman's financial information and convinced the Bellevue man "she" would wire him money for the apartment.
Police say the local man never received any money. The Colorado woman who became a victim of identity theft, noticed something odd was going on with her bank account and called Bellevue police. She told them someone was trying to wire money to Nebraska from her account without her permission. Francis Gallo is the detective who worked the case, "It's quite the little trail of little bread crumbs you have to follow and normally it leads outside the country and there is nothing we can do about it because we don't have jurisdiction," says Gallo.
This one scam alone trails from Nebraska to Colorado to Utah to California and finally around the world to China. Police say it's highly likely, no one will face justice. "I can't forward a case to Hong Kong and ask them to charge somebody with identity theft," says Gallo.
Police say more and more cases are coming through the department and it's frustrating because they only have one investigator capable of tracking cyber-crimes. The easiest way to keep yourself from becoming a target, never do anything financial over the internet if it's not a trusted site.