Since this scam is on the rebound I'm republishing the following:

A friend forwarded the following description of a scam aimed at a well-known college.  Fortunately, they didn't fall for it. 

I would like to make everyone aware of a recent situation here that is most likely a scam to launder stolen credit card funds, appearing as a gift.

  • A $9,000 gift is received and approved from an unknown entity (in this case a “Cassandra Harvey”), with Smyrna, GA address, Yahoo email and legitimate phone number.
  • The next day, we receive an email from the donor with the following info: the $9,000 gift amount was a mistake, it should have been $900. The gift was made in memory of the donor’s late mother (never named) who had a wonderful experience at our college. Further, the original credit card from which the gift was made has been closed due to recent suspect activity and could we refund the $8,100 balance back to another credit card.


  • We were able to refund the money back to the original credit card and immediately notified the credit card company and local police. Upon notifying the “donor” that we can only refund the money back to the original card, she replies that the original account is closed and that we need to use the other card.
  • The scammer had done enough research to use specific references to our college to make it appear genuine, although there was considerable broken English in the emails.
  • With the flurry of gift activity by our gift processing staff and within the context of providing good customer service to our donors, it could have been easy to overlook normal business rules and refund the balance to that other credit card
  • Most likely the originating credit card is stolen, and by having us charge it and then remit most of the funds to another card, we would be “laundering” the funds for the scammer

As if we didn’t have enough to do right now!