Business Owner Targeted with Phony Payment

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MCALLEN – A local business owner said his business was the target of a new crooked deal that could have cost him thousands.

Sal Perez, a pest control expert, started his career almost a decade ago. Through hard work and dedication, he and his business partner were able to open their own business three years ago.

Perez explained Pest Control Pro is about more than just earning a living.

"You know helping the individual, you know, live a normal life. Because believe it or not bugs will take over," Perez said.

Perez said a few weeks ago, his secretary received an email from a woman claiming to need pest control services. She claimed to be moving to the McAllen area from out of state.

He explained the woman provided an address which she claimed needed pest control services. Perez said the cost of the job was $129.

He told CHANNEL 5 NEWS her response was shocking:

"We're accidentally sending you a check for close to $4,000 instead of your regular fees, and send us back the money through a cashier’s check or money order you know... It got really, really suspicious," Perez explained.

Perez said that's when he started paying closer attention.

After receiving the check he found it strange that the names and addresses on the envelope and the check didn't match. So he called CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

We headed to the Better Business Bureau. BBB president Dolores Salinas explained Perez made the right decision to play detective. She said the would-be criminals were attempting to execute an overpayment sham.

She said there is a reason why they ask for certain types of repayment.

"They always make it in a type of tender that is not traceable, not refundable and you have no recourse to try to recover it," Salinas told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Salinas said business owners can't count on the high-priced check the crooks sent either.

"Eight to ten days after you deposit the money, they always ask you to deposit the money in your account. Eight to ten days later, that check will bounce and you’re left holding the bag for the full amount with your bank," Salinas explained.

Salinas said people trying to pull off phony overpayment deals prefer to communicate exclusively through email. She explained it's always better to be safe than sorry when dealing with customers you haven't personally met.

Perez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS he hopes all local business owners will be on the lookout for this sham. He said he would hate for these criminals to get a dime of your hard-earned money.


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