An 18-year-old Darien resident fell victim to an email scam involving a fraudulent check earlier this month.
The teenager was contacted by email at the start of May by an individual named Barbara B who claimed to be a care specialist with a job website called Care.com. She offered the teen a dog sitting job for a person moving from Canada to Darien. The teen was given the contact info of a Nicole Doherty, who offered to pay the teen $35 an hour to care for two dogs for six hours a week.
Doherty told the teen she would send an advance check and key to the Darien apartment where the dogs were. The teen provided her personal information and address to complete the transaction. She received a check addressed to Keith Allen Clayton of San Diego, California in the amount of $2,965 on May 8 and deposited it into her account.
The following day Doherty contacted the teen asking her to withdraw the funds once the check cleared. When she contacted her bank she was informed that the check was fraudulent. She did not suffer any financial loss, but the investigation is still ongoing.
The Darien Police Department has issued a warning to residents to avoid the potential pitfalls of internet scams such as this one. Pet sitting email scams like this one have been reported in other jurisdictions and can be researched online. Any offer to send a check to a resident in advance of a face to face business meeting can almost assuredly be considered a scam.
Police advise that residents look upon any unsolicited contact such as this with a critical eye. The old caveat is still of great utility — ”if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”