Missouri man loses $25K in elaborate con involving fake company - KMOV.com

Missouri man loses $25K in elaborate con involving fake company

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

UNION, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A Missouri man had more than $25,000 stolen from him in an elaborate scam that ran for nearly a month and involved a painstakingly realistic fake company, fraudulent bank accounts and ostensible professional training.

The 41-year-old victim was contacted in early February by a company called Jutland Offshore Company. He had his resume posted on many job listing sites, so the call wasn’t unusual. The company, which the caller said was based in Denmark, was looking for a subcontractor and his skills fit the position.

He said he was interested, and on February 7, he had a phone interview with a woman named Eva Anders.

The victim had previously checked the website of the company and it appeared professional, and later said the phone interview seemed legitimate. Anders asked all the right questions pertaining the position the victim’s previous work experience, and the conversation had the tenor of a genuine job interview.

The company informed the victim he had passed a background check, and non February 8, he was sent contract from a man named Morton Hagen.

When Hagen contacted him, the victim noticed he had a domestic number, but all the numbers in the previous emails exchanged with Jutland’s employees had overseas numbers in the signatures. The victim had called the numbers to make sure they were real, and all of them were working, so having a domestic contact person didn’t seem particularly strange.

After he was hired, the company said they would send the victim on the job training to complete and Hagen would oversee. Hagen graded the victim as he worked and provided corrections, again lending a feeling of legitimacy to the process.

His first trial project was assigned on Feb. 19, and along with that came information on a company bank account. Hagen told the victim a corporate card was being issued, and in the interim, he should put purchases on his personal credit card. The company would reimburse him from the bank account, which he was now authorized to make transfers from to his credit card.  

The victim told police before he made any purchases, he called his credit card company and was told all the bank information was legitimate and did not raise any red flags.

He completed his first job and Hagen sent a second project on Feb. 21 and a third on Feb 22. As part of these assignments, the victim had to purchase iPhones and ship them to Hong Kong. On March 2, Hagen called the victim to tell him the corporate credit card should be arriving within a couple weeks.

The card did not arrive, and when the victim made the bank transfers to his credit card they were rejected as unauthorized.

He tried calling Hagen, but he had disappeared. He never reached anyone in the company, and the website for Jutland had been taken down.

In all, the victim lost more than $25,000 in the scam, which police described as being “a very elaborate scheme, from a team of con artists.”

In the wake of the scam, Union police released the following statement:

Information that you receive on the internet, and even on a telephone, is suspect, at best. Anyone can say they work for a reputable company. They can use any name they want to use. You have no verifiable information until you check out the information through trusted sources. Never use links, within an email, to check out information. Do not use phone numbers provided by the person who is trying to deal with you. Use independent sources to try to verify information and then you should still be wary of the information, if you are being asked to use your money, with a promise of reimbursement. Don't buy it. Slow down. Ask your local police agency to help you make a decision, before you become a VICTIM

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