Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office warns businesses of ‘forced sale’ scam

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Source: Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office

Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott has warned business owners in Wagoner County and other areas about a scam being used to obtain items fraudulently.

In a nutshell, a customer comes into a business and presents the product(s) he/she wants to buy at checkout and provides a credit or debit card.

The transaction gets denied. The customer steps away and appears to be talking to the bank, returns with an authorization code, clerk inputs the information and the sale is authorized.

The customer leaves with the merchandise and it isn’t until a few weeks later when business tries to settle with the card issuer that business learns they have been duped.

“The fact is that any code will work. It is a technical limitation of the forced transaction which allows the scammer to exploit the system,” said Elliott.

On May 1 at 1:30 p.m., Wagoner County Sheriff’s deputy William Seig was dispatched to the 9800 Block of South 235th East Avenue in the Broken Arrow area to investigate a fraudulent transaction that had occurred.

Upon arrival, Sieg met with the victim at a Wagoner County business. The victim stated two adult males came into the business on Friday, April 29 and attempted to purchase two trailers for a total amount of $12,420.

The two adult males arrived at this business location in a rented U-Haul truck and provided their identification to staff members.

The original transaction was conducted with a debit MasterCard that one of the two suspects provided.

After the credit card was declined, the suspect stated he has his card set up to decline every transaction and will receive an approval code from his bank so the operator of the point of s ales terminal can input the code and authorize the transaction.

Meanwhile, a second suspect could be seen in the background typing on his cell phone throughout the transaction. Each time the victim would ask for information the second suspect can be seen talking to the first suspect, telling him what too say.

Within a few moments a text message arrived on suspect #1’s phone showing an authorization code and what appeared to be legitimate information from a lending institution, complete with images of the bank name and official looking legal wording.

The victim input the code into the POS machine and an authorization was granted. After the approval was granted, victim who was still uncertain about this type of transaction was becoming more uncomfortable and began to feel like something wasn’t right, the department said.

When the suspects were being assisted by an employee, the victim at the business began to Google “FORCED SALE” to see if it was legit.

As a result of this search, victim found this type of transaction is most common among scammers for fraudulent purposes.

At that point the victim emailed his risk management contact and his vendor about the transaction. Within minutes, he received confirmation from risk management and the vendor that this was a fraudulent transaction.

The victim told the suspects he would need to wait until he received authorization from victim’s bank before delivering the property.

They agreed to wait and left the business.

It was discovered the address provided by “suspect #1” was an abandoned home.

Upon discovering this the victim contacted the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office to file a report.

“Remember if you own a business and have this issue arise be cautious. This may prevent you from being a victim of a scammer,” Elliott said.

A warrant request was submitted to the Wagoner County District Attorney’s office for review. When warrants are issued, deputies will attempt to take the suspects into custody for their actions, the sheriff’s office said.

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