A con artist tried to scam a Sidney businessman out of hard-earned cash using the Sidney Herald newspaper's name as part of the scheme — but the business owner was too smart for him.
R.C. Hord, owner of All Season Motorsports in Sidney, not only foiled the would-be thief’s plans, he also notified the police department of the activity.
Hord told the Sidney Herald the caller claimed to be with the newspaper, and said that due to COVID-19 the newspaper would be reversing charges for ads sold recently for the hunting guide. She would just need his credit card number, and then Hord would qualify for a $250 refund.
Hord did the smart thing, however, and refused to give her his credit card number over the phone until he had contacted the Sidney Herald directly to confirm whether this is true.
“The way the economy is in Sidney, there’s no oil activity, and there’s no money being spread around,” Hord said. “So I knew the newspaper wouldn’t give back money unless they had an excess of cash, which they do not in Sidney. That just told me it has to be fraudulent.”
And of course, Hord was right. While the Sidney Herald was able to offer some grants through Wick Communications earlier on in the pandemic to help businesses, it is not able to refund any recently sold ads for the hunting guide, or any of its other information products.
If the newspaper were planning to issue a refund, however, it would not actually need to ask for credit card information. The Sidney Herald can automatically process refunds for its credit card customers without asking for the number at all. Customers would simply receive a check for their refund in that case.
Individuals should never give out credit card information over the phone to individuals who call them up unexpectedly and ask for it. Horde took the correct action by calling the Sidney Herald directly to ask about this, and then reporting it to the police when he learned it was not true.
“That gave me the fuel I needed, the ammunition to call the police department to put a stop to the activity,” Hord said.
Have you been targeted by a con artist recently? Let us know and we will be happy to spread the word about how that scam worked, to help prevent others from being caught unawares. Email scam stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.