LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Thieves come in a lot of different disguises, and one that you wouldn't expect is as a customer. An East Texas business owner found that out the hard way.
"It was very believable," said Cindy Johnson, the victim.
Johnson, a 26-year-old makeup artist, is use to people contacting her for her skills, and when it comes time to close a deal, things usually go smoothly.
However, when her latest client mailed a cashier's check for more than what she asked for, she knew something was up.
"He called me on the phone, and I talked to him, and he said that there was a misunderstanding with the company who cut the check," Johnson said. "He said that the rest of the remaining fee was for the photographer."
After examining the check, there was a second red flag. The name on the returning address didn't match the name of the person she'd been in contact with. From there, it snowballed into more curious questioning.
"On his Website, he said that he was from Iowa, and then the check was cut in Pennsylvania," Johnson said. "The return address that was on the envelope was from California. So one plus one equals two, and it wasn't adding up."
She quickly contacted a PNC bank to find out if this was an actual check.
"They informed me that the check was in fact fraudulent," Johnson said.
Johnson came close to losing more than $2,000. If she had cashed the fraudulent check, the bank would have put her on the hook for returning the money.
"You have to verify things, check it out, know the facts, and you have to make sure you're covering yourself," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to do the right thing and make sure that I'm alerting the community because this is important, that's a lot of money."
Law enforcement officials said try avoiding sending money to someone you don't know. If you feel like it's a scam, be sure to contact your local law enforcement agency.