Online scam targets child care operators

CALGARY- A popular internet scam has a new target: daycare operators.

Calgary’s Kimberly Alcock-Jenkins runs a dayhome, and nearly fell victim to the scam after a man claiming to be moving from Mexico contacted her about child care.

They exchanged several messages online, before the man sent Alcock-Jenkins a cheque to hold a spot. However, it was made out for more than required.  The man said it was a mistake and asked her to wire the rest to a shipping company he was using to move his  furniture.

That’s when Alcock-Jenkins became suspicious, and contacted her bank—which confirmed the cheque was counterfeit.

“The bank said to me they’ve had a lot recently that have been forgeries, and it has been daycares and caregivers,” she says. “There have been loads in these past few months.

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“I actually was warned by somebody to be careful, because this is the scam that’s going around. They’ll send you too much, and then they’ll ask you to send something back.”

A number of daycares in the Calgary area have been targeted recently, and police are warning people to watch out for it.

“They’ll troll websites or lists of emails, you can buy lists of emails from scammers online so that’s a place to start,” explains Cst. Carter Duchesney. “It’s just a very random thing and they might target certain industries.”

In the past, the overpayment scam has targeted people looking for homes to rent, or those applying for mystery shopper jobs.