3OYS: Pampered Chef consultant avoids $2,800 scam

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

MESA, Ariz. --  A Mesa woman selling kitchenware for some extra money, could have lost a small fortune, when she almost became the target of a scam.

Kristy Neal sells products made by a company called The Pampered Chef.  It's pretty popular and it offers just about everything there is when it comes to cooking.

Neal does what she can to get the word out about Pampered Chef, including having her own website.  And it was that website that attracted an alleged new customer who emailed Neal.

Neal tells 3 On Your Side, "I got an email from someone who said they would like to order something from me, and I responded 'I would like to help you. What kind of stuff would you like to order?'"

The alleged customer placed an order for a couple hundred dollars' worth of goods and then told Neal that a check was on its way. And sure enough, the check arrived in Neal's mailbox.

However, the check, made out to Neal, wasn't exactly what she was expecting. "They were supposed to send me a $230 check, I think. And the check was for $2,800," Neal says.

Neal was shocked. And then came another email. It read: "Can I trust you with the money?" And: "I hope my money will be safe."

The alleged customer writes that the amount was obviously a mistake and then tells Neal to: "...deposit the check into your account." It goes on to say: "Can you wire the rest?"

Neal says the whole thing sounded weird.  Who sends a person so much money and then trusts them to return it through a wire transfer?

Neal is right, because it turns out, she was being baited by a scammer.  The check is actually worthless, and had she deposited the funds and wired the remaining balance back, she would have been out all that money.

Unfortunately, it would have taken up to three days before her bank even realized the check was fake.

Neal says she's glad made the right decision and avoided depositing the funds. However, she says there are many others out there who will fall victim to the ruse. "We need to let everyone else know to not to fall for scams like this," she says. "There are people out there that this is their job to scam you and get your money."