Columbia church reports possible money-wiring scam

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A Columbia church might be the victim of a scam involving a request for rent money.

The United Church of Christ received a call on May 14 from a man claiming that he had fallen behind on his rent and had been evicted, according to a news release from the Columbia Police Department.

A second man then called the church, saying he was the first caller's landlord. The second caller said money could be wired to him via Money Gram at Walmart, the news release stated.

Members of the church gathered the money and sent it to the second caller. The transfer used a "key word" and a predetermined address, preventing the church members from determining where the money went.

"The Police Department wants all area churches and charitable organizations to be aware that this has happened in our area, and not to fall prey to it," Public Information Officer Jessie Hayden said in a news release.


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