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Local woman fleeced by money order scam

A Spokane County woman is out about $2,000 after she tried to help what turned out to be yet another scam seeking willing participants to cash money orders – which turn out to be fraudulent – to help needy people overseas.

The victim, who was not identified by name or age, told sheriff’s deputies that she responded to an e-mail indicating that she had been chosen for a secret shopper’s opportunity, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said in a news release.

The woman provided her age and address and then received two $975 money orders in the mail. She also received instructions from a man named Paul Patino to keep $200 for herself and send the remaining money via Western Union to Laura Duran at 98 Long Road, in Manilla, Phillipines.

Shortly after following instructions, employees at the woman’s bank told her the money orders were fake and they froze her account. They also told the woman she was on the hook to pay the entire $1,950.

The next day, the victim received four more $975 money orders through United Parcel Service. She took them to a different bank and learned the money orders were fake.

The number Patino used to contact the woman was (702) 516-0992 and two other numbers have been disconnected. Residents are cautioned to be skeptical of any offer such unsolicited offers.


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